Political criss-crossing goes full steam in Punjab
By Tariq Farid
LAHORE: Crossover from one party to another is gaining steam in the pre-poll Punjab, as a number of politicians have changed their loyalties during a period of one month, and others are waiting to use their options when the caretaker set up comes in force.
Recently, many traditional politicians have switched their party affiliations, and the most affected party so far is the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Romance with the PTI is diminishing now, as internal bickering and frustration within the party has increased. Traditional politicians openly complain for being ignored by the party leadership in decision-making. Former lawmaker from Pakpattan Ahmad Reza Maneka's changing loyalties within hours is representative of the games going on at the moment in Punjab. First, he met Nawaz Sharif and announced to join the PML-N after quitting the PTI, and the next day, he met the Chaudhrys and joined the PML-Q.
After a 10-month stay in the PTI, former MNA Shahid Manzoor Gill, former MPA Javed Manzoor Gill and former tehsil nazim Tahir Manzoor Gill said goodbye to it last month and rejoined the PML-Q.
Former federal minister from Gujranwala Shahid Akram Bhindar and his son Waleed Akram Bhindar announced in September to quit the PTI and joined the PML-N. The Bhindars joined the PTI in October 2011. According to sources, former federal minister Chaudhry Noraiz Shakoor and former Sahiwal nazim Rai Hassan Nawaz could soon enter the PML-Q folds again.
Sardar Jamal Khan Leghari and Sardar Awais Leghari of Dera Ghazi Khan, Malik Ghulam Abbas from Chakwal and Malik Amin Aslam from Khushab could leave the PTI.
Recently PML-Q MNA Riaz Hussain Pirzada from Bahawalpur met Nawaz Sharif and expressed confidence in his leadership. According to sources, he has decided to join the PML-N and contest the forthcoming general elections from its platform, but he will not make a formal announcement in this regard, because he does not want to quit his seat. PML-Q MNA Raza Hayat Hiraj, PPP leader Sahibzada Ghazanfar Gul, former NA speaker Fakhar Imam and PML-Q former district nazim Lodhran Abdul Rehman Kanju are in contact with the PML-N, and are expected to join it, said sources in the PML-N. PPP leaders from Gujrat, including Ahmad Saeed, the elder brother of Water and Power Minister Ahmad Mukhtar, and Mazhar Ali Khan and Muzaffar Ali Khan, brothers of Ghazanfar Gul, have already joined the PML-N.
In September, Kasur politician Dr Azeemuddin Lakhvi left PML-N and joined PML-Q.
On October 1, PML-N Nankana Youth Wing President Aslam Farooqi announced to join the PML-Q.