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PML, PPP have reasons to accept turncoats

July 20, 2007

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LAHORE, July 19: The ruling PML and the opposition PPP-Parliamentarians don’t see anything wrong in allowing such people to join them as are called turncoats in political parlance and are hated by the electorate.

“If two MPAs have left, 20 legislators (from opposition parties) have joined us,” says PML President Shujaat Husain.

He said the defections would not weaken the ruling party nor would the PML take any measures to prevent them.

Makhdoom Amin Fahim said lawmakers from other parties could be allowed to join the PPP keeping in view the situation in the constituencies they belonged to.

He said people from other parties were joining the PPP because of its popularity and a brighter future.

Several lawmakers have changed loyalties recently hoping for better prospects in the parties they have joined.

Disqualification references moved against the opposition MPAs who joined the PML are still pending undecided, as a result of which more legislators got encouragement to quit the parties on whose tickets they were elected in the 2002 polls.

Shujaat said only those people were leaving the PML who knew they would not be given tickets for the upcoming election because of their poor performance. These people, he alleged, had been getting development funds, but failed to do much for the people of their constituencies. Some of those who joined the PPP had already been expelled from the PML, Shujaat said without elaborating his claim.

The PML leader said the change of loyalties was a routine in politics that could continue till the elections.

He said the PML had strong and best candidates for every constituency who would win the elections. In the presence of such candidates, he said, the party did not need ‘magicians’ and fiery speakers who could exploit the feelings of voters through speeches. He indicated that the contestants themselves would run their campaign in their constituencies.

Amin Fahim did not agree with the suggestion that accepting turncoats would mean promoting political opportunism. He said the question of promoting opportunism would be relevant only if his party accepted all those from other parties who wanted to join it. He said the PPP would be selective in letting such people in and take a decision on such cases after holding consultations with the local leaders.

The PPP leader said those who changed loyalties had no commitment.

Asked whether the PML would be justified in filing disqualification references against the defectors, he said it had the right to devise a policy about such people.