LAHORE, Dec 19: With political scene changing rapidly, the PML-Q is still optimistic that it can negotiate, on its terms, seat adjustment with the ruling PPP for the next general elections.
Its leadership believes that it can press the PPP on the issue once defections stop from its (PML-Q) rank and file and the Memogate dust settles. It has also decided to come up with `some new demands’ regarding the seat adjustment, Dawn has learnt.
The PML-Q appears to be more vulnerable in the face of ‘large scale’ defections of its leaders and workers to the PTI. The Chaudhrys have so far lost their stalwarts like Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, Jehangir Khan Tareen, Awais Leghari, Jamal Leghari, G G Jamal, Salim Saifullah, Humanyun Akhtar, Haroon Akhtar, Gohar Ayub, and Ijazul Haq, who were once with them under the umbrella of Gen Musharraf.
“Once this wave of defections stops, we will be in a better position to renegotiate the pros and cons of our alliance with special reference to seat adjustment with the PPP for the 2013 elections,” a senior PML-Q leader said.
Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Pervaiz Elahi have already launched efforts to stop more defections, especially among their legislators and ‘powerful figures’ of rural constituencies. The Chaudhrys are convinced that the impression that Mr Khan’s party will ‘sweep’ the next elections has only been created by the media.
“We are not worried about the few defections. The big names joining the PTI had already left us,” PML-Q central information secretary Kamil Ali Agha told Dawn. To a question, he said once the government came out of the current crisis, the PML-Q leadership would sit together with the PPP’s and work out modalities regarding the seat adjustment and other related issues.
Former law minister Babar Awan who is a member of the kitchen cabinet of President Asif Ali Zardari says the PPP is not taking Imran Khan’s ‘so called tsunami’ seriously. “Like many others we do not take Mr Khan seriously. Only discarded politicians of different parties are joining the PTI and it makes no difference to the PPP,” Mr Awan told Dawn. He further said: “The PPP-PMLQ alliance will do well in the next elections and rather the PTI factor will help them secure more seats in Punjab.”
Mr Awan also dispelled the impression that the real contest in Punjab will now be between the PML-N and PTI. “Like the PML-N, the PTI is only on the GT Road and GT Road is not the entire Punjab,” he concluded.