ISLAMABAD: Almost all Members Parliament (MPs) from South Punjab have been switching their loyalties ahead of elections in recent past in favour of parties with high probability of winning and the trend seems continuing this time around.
Even established politicians like Javed Hashmi, Jahangir Tareen and Shah Mahmood Qureshi ditched the parties they belonged to for a possible greener pastures with new groups.
Nearly 99 percent politicians of sixteen districts (South) of Punjab switched their loyalties since 2002, according to official statistics gathered by this correspondent in recent weeks. Around 106 of total 120 MPAs and 57 of total 64 MNAs from South Punjab shifted their allegiance to other parties for reaping rich rewards. Majority of them either contested elections on Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) ticket or later joined the party to remain in power from 2002 to 2008. Almost all of them again shifted their allegiance to Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) for reaping rich rewards from 2008 to 2013. Then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) awarded tickets to around 110 of total 167 past loyalists of PPPP and PML-Q for National Assembly and provincial assembly in South Punjab. And now over 15 MPAs and MNAs left PML-N from South Punjab and many more are in line, as what they told Geo News as 2018 polls approach. Additionally, around 45 former MPs who lost 2013 elections have already joined hands with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in past three years.
Geo News also learnt that around 30 MPs from South Punjab may leave PML-N in coming weeks citing certain reasons.
Three districts — Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan — are considered to be a hub of political turncoats, trends suggest. Almost all 13 MPAs and 5 MNAs from Rahim Yar Khan have been changing their loyalties since 2002. MNA Khusro Bakhtiar, who left PML-N, last week, was PML-Q member once and similarly Nasrullah Dareshak and Awais Leghari have had a long history of switching sides. They had also been tracking current and political turncoats and defectors in Parliament in 2002-03 when late Farooq Leghari launched the Millat Party (MP) which later on merged into king’s party — PML-Q. Dareshak and Mr Bakhtiar announced a new group named ‘South Punjab Soba Mahaz’ last week who with allies were first flirted with PTI but at the last moment changed their minds. Almost 7 MPAs and 3 MNAs of DG Khan have been switching their loyalties with the MP, PML-Q, PTI, PML-N and Zulfiqar Khosa kicked off with the Tehreek-e-Istaqlal (TeI). Four MPs and 2 MNAs of Rajanpur including Atif Mazari and Nasrullah Dareshak have been switching their political panels. Ten MPs and five MNAs of Muzaffargarh (including Sultan Hanjrah, Ghulam Mustafa Khar and Rabbani Khar) have been keeping changing their parties. Almost five MPs of Layyah, except two new MNAs — Saqlain Bokhari and Faizul Hassan of PML-N, have been changing their political affiliations. Majority of MPAs (12 MPs and 6 MNAs) from Multan, including Javed Hashmi, Sikandar Bosan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, have been changing their political parties.
Four of total five MPAs and both MNAs from Lodhran (Sajjad Joya, Iqbal Shah), including Jahangir Khan Tareen have been shifting their loyalties from one party to another. Majority of sixteen MPs and eight MNAs of each from Vehari (including Nazeer Ahmed) and Khaniwal have been gaining postures of ruling parties since 2002.
Thorough research conducted by Geo News further revealed that almost 13 of total 18 MPs and two of eight total eight MNAs from Bahwalnagar and Bahawalpur have been changing their political loyalties.
Almost all four MPAs and two MNAs, except Afzal Dhandhla from Bhakar, four MPAs and two MNAs of Mianwali (including Obaidullah Shadi Khail and son of Sher Afghan Niazi), one MPA and three MNAs from Chiniot-old-cum-Jhang (including Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh), eight of total nine MPAs and four MNAs from Jhang-old (Faisal Saleh Hayat, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, Sheikh Akram), five MPAs and MNAs from Pakpattan including Mansab Dogar, seven MPAs and four MNAs from Sahiwal including Imran Shah and Khanewal and all four MNAs including Raza Hayat Haraj and Aslam Bodla and seven of eight MPAs have been shifting their political affiliations in the recent past. Currently eleven PTI MPAs, four PPPP MPAs, two independent MPAs, one each from JUI-F, PML-Z, JI and Bahawalpur National Awami Party were also part of this club in South Punjab. South Punjab witnessed an increase of three MNA seats under new census as well.
Those over one hundreds MPs who were awarded PML-N tickets in 2013 were once loyalists of PML (aka PLM-Q) and PPP in South Punjab. Majority of them seem to be waiting for ‘which way the wind blows’ and then they would decide to which party they should join to remain in power for next five years. The list of these turncoats included Sikandar Hayat Bosan (NA-151, PML-Q MNA), Pir Rafiuddin Bukhari (NA-154, PML-Q MPA) in 2002 and 2008, Ashiq Hussain Bukhari (NA-151,PML-Q MPA), Syed Fakhar Imam (NA-156) remained with the PML-Q before joining the PPP and losing in 2008, Muhammad Akhtar Khan Kanju (NA-155, PML-Q MNA), Ch Ashraf (NA-161, PML-Q), Saeed Manhais (NA-169 ) was from PML-J and his son won on PML-Q ticket in 2008, Hafeez-ur-Rehman Dareshak (NA-175 ) was former PML-Q? district Nazim, Malik Sultan Hanjra (NA-176 ) won from the PML-Q platform in 2002 and 2008, Khalid Gurmani (NA-177) was from PML-Q and had party ticket, but lost, Ibad Dogar (NA-178) was from PML-Q, Sardar Jafar Laghari (NA-174, PML-Q MNA), Pir Aslam Bodla (NA-158 was from the PPP, Ch Iftikhar Nazir (NA-159) was from the PPP, Makhdoom Basit Sultan (NA-179) was from PML-Q, Abdullah Shah Bukhari (NA-180) was from PML-Q, Makhdoomzada Hasan Ali (NA-183) was from PML-Q, Mian Najeebuddin Awasi (NA-184 ) was tehsil nazim Bahawalpur, Khadim Wattoo (NA-188) was PML-Q provincial minister, Alam Dad Lalika (NA-189 ) is the son of former federal minister late Abdul Sattar Lalika, who was the first one to join the Musharraf bandwagon well before the Chaudhrys changed loyalties, Tahir Bashir Cheema (NA-190) had contested the National Assembly elections in 2002 and 2008 on PML-Q ticket and Makhdoom Alam Anwar (NA-190) was from the PML-Q.
The list of turncoats goes on with Sumaira Malik (NA-69, PML-Q MNA) in 2008, Abdullah Shadikhel (NA-71, PML-Q MNA) from 2002 and 2008, Humair Hayat Rokari (NA-72) former district Nazim, Rasheed Akbar Niwani (NA-74) was former PML-Q District Nazim of Bhakkar, Saima Akhtar Bharwana (NA-90) won in 2002 as an independent candidate and joined PML-Q and again contested as an independent candidate in 2008 and won, Col (R) Ghulam Rasool Sahi (NA-75, PML-Q MNA) in 2002, Muhammad Asim Nazir (NA-77, PML-Q MNA) in 2008, Qaiser Ahmed Shaikh (NA-86) contested from TeI in 2002 and an independent candidate in 2008, Sahibzada Mahboob Sultan (NA-91) former district Nazim Jhang and former MNA on PML-Q ticket. This list goes on.