25 July, 2014 / Ramazan 26, 1435

LAHORE, Dec 14: Disturbance in Pakistan People’s Party’s Punjab camp is rife, as at least eight of its MPAs have virtually joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and one the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and some more are ready to change loyalties in the coming days.

Four of them are those who had not voted for PPP candidate Aslam Gill in the Senate election in March, but the PPP leadership preferred to woo them back instead of initiating disciplinary action against them. They are Nishat Ahmed Daha, Rana Babar Hussain and Jamil Shah from the Khanewal district and Rai Shah Jehan from the Nankana district. Now they have said goodbye to the PPP, citing different reasons.

The other five who are in contact with the PML-N and may announce their defection are Kamil Ali Gujjar and Rana Munawar Hussain from the Sargodha district, Javed Allauddin from Okara and Ahmed Hussain Deharr from Multan. Malik Abbas Raan from Multan has showed his intention to join the PTI.

Nishat Daha claimed that he, Babar Hussain and Jamil Shah had submitted their resignations to the Punjab Assembly Secretariat, but the assembly spokesman said the secretariat did not receive any MPA’s resignation.

PPP deputy parliamentary leader Shaukat Basra told Dawn that these three and Shah Jehan Bhatti had in fact handed over their resignations to Dr Tauqeer Shah, secretary to the chief minister, and linked their submission to the release of funds for their constituencies by the Punjab government. “We are going to issue show-cause notices to these four,” Basra said.

The PPP has raised the question that why PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif needs ‘turncoats’ for the upcoming general election.

“What about those loyal PML-N workers who contested the last election against the turncoats of other parties. This is unfortunate for our politics,” PPP leader and MPA Ashraf Sohna told Dawn.

Constituency-to-constituency political expediencies are said to be the reasons behind PPP legislators’ changing loyalties.

The three MPAs from Khanewal complain that they are ignored and their opponents like Haraj and Niazi families are given more importance by the party leadership.Shah Jehan Bhatti made up his mind to join the PML-N the day the PPP hinted at awarding the National Assembly ticket to his archrival Saeed Zafar Pedhiar.

Kamil Gujjar is not happy with the PPP leadership for giving more importance to PML-Q MNA of his area. “I will announce my decision to join the PML-N or not next week,” he said.

Rana Munawar Hussain said he had differences with his party over some issues, but he was not going to join the PML-N.

Ashraf Sohna said Javed Allauddin had in fact left the party when he did not vote for the PPP Senate candidate. “Allauddin has been enjoying good relations with the PML-N and receiving handsome development funds from the Punjab government,” he said.

Ahmed Hussain Deharr, who is in the constituency of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, is not comfortable with the party for taking in its fold his rival, Ishaq Bucha. He fears the party may award the ticket to Bucha in the next election.

Abbas Raan, who was part of the two-member PPP forward bloc, said he was more interested in joining the PTI because Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif did not respect his team.

PPP South Punjab vice-president Haider Zaman Qureshi said: “We are not worried about the defections because ignored members of the PML-N will join the PPP after their party will take some turncoats in its fold. So the equation will remain the same and the PML-N will not benefit from this move,” says Qureshi.

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