One after another, opposition parties seem to be abandoning the PML-N side as it struggles to counter the emergent Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in the National Assembly as well as in the Punjab Assembly.
In a serious blow to the joint opposition, both the PPP and the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) have distanced themselves from the PML-N's nominee for the post of prime minister.
The nomination of Shahbaz Sharif — the "joint candidate" of the 11-party alliance against PTI chief Imran Khan for the slot of prime minister — has riled the PPP for his derogatory remarks against their party's co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari.
The PPP has subsequently also distanced itself from the PML-N in Punjab, where the Zardari-led party has decided not to cast its votes in the elections for speaker and deputy speaker in the provincial assembly.
PPP MPA Hassan Murtaza, while talking to DawnNewsTV, has said his party's members will not cast their votes due to the PML-N's "behaviour".
"We have seven votes but we will not support the PML-N or the PTI," he said.
PML-N still eyeing PPP support in the next phase
PML-N leader Saad Rafique regretted that though PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had "backed out" from the election for speaker and deputy speaker in the Punjab Assembly "due to his compulsions", the PML-N will "not complain".
He continued to hope that the PPP will support the PML-N in "the next phase".
He also warned the PTI against attempting to make a forward block in the PML-N.
"We had formed forward blocks in our tenure but they were our own people," he added.
MMA says not bound to vote for Shahbaz in NA
Meanwhile, the MMA has also made it clear that after recent developments, the MMA is not bound to vote for Shahbaz Sharif for the prime minister's post.
MMA leader Liaquat Baloch criticised the alliance, saying both the PPP and the PML-N had backtracked from decisions taken in the 'all parties conference'.
He also said that opposition parties in parliament need to set their priorities clearly and without any ambiguity in the days ahead.
PTI says PML-N leaders offering forward block in Punjab
Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed of the PTI has expressed his firm belief that the candidates nominated by party will win the elections for speaker and deputy speaker in the Punjab Assembly.
The PTI leader added that his party was not making any deliberate attempt to carve out a forward block within the PML-N; however, he did claim that several PML-N lawmakers had offered their cooperation to the PTI leadership.