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January 3, 2012

PTI forcing MPs to resign and then join the party


January 3, 2012

ISLAMABAD: By ensuring that every federal and provincial legislator joining it resigns his seat, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is trying to force the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and other opposition parties to quit assemblies in order to pave the way for fresh general elections.
Since long there is tremendous pressure on PML-N President Nawaz Sharif from his own party colleagues to walk out of the assemblies but he is resisting it saying that he did not want to destabilise the elected bodies. “Resignations of dozens of lawmakers in the wake of their affiliation with the PTI are ultimately going to create a situation where the PML-N and other opposition parties would have no option but to follow us,” a senior PTI leader told The News.
He said that the PML-N would further suffer if it continued to cling to the assemblies. He said that it was evident from the prevailing public opinion that people at large considered the present legislatures as redundant and burden on the public kitty.
Top PTI leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi has stated that by-elections to nearly fifty National Assembly seats, to be vacated by their occupants after joining his party, would be an impossible exercise to carry out by the government.
Another PTI leader frankly conceded that his party has not so far been successful in weaning away a very large number of federal and provincial legislators. He said although the pace was currently slow, it would significantly pick up in the coming days.
He said that the PTI leadership was in contact with several sitting MPs, who were willing to join the party and leave the assemblies. “Contacts will be maturing in the next few weeks as these MPs see their future better in the PTI.”
On the on other hand, a senior PML-N stalwart said that it would be futile to expect from his party to follow the PTI, whose performance, regardless of the drumbeating currently going on at a sonorous pitch about its popularity, would be

exposed to everybody in the next general elections, which were not far off.
He said that the PML-N would take a decision to depart the assemblies at the time of its own choosing if at all it walked out of them. “We will not be guided by the PTI.”
However, he admitted that there was a strong opinion held by a number of PML-N leaders that they keep projecting in the internal meetings that the option of leaving the assemblies should be exercised right now to give a big push to campaign for the ouster of the regime.
But, he said, an equally forceful view in the PML-N was that it should avoid reverting to the politics of nineties when such tactics were used to get rid of the government of the day.
The PML-N leader said that in a bid to destabilize the first Nawaz Sharif government in early 1993 the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had made it known that its MPs have handed over their resignations to the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan with the objective of strengthening his hands to dismiss the regime. It was result of this campaign and conspiracy that the government was packed up, he added.
The PTI leader said that it has become very clear during his party’s contacts with many sitting MPs that they are fed up with the performance of the assemblies and want a fresh appeal to the electorate.
The dilemma that the PML-N faces is that it will also have to quit the assembly of Punjab where it rules if it decides to resign the National Assembly. But it doesn’t want to let its provincial government sink this way. However, it would not be possible for it to abandon the National Assembly but stay in the Punjab Assembly.
The PML-N leader said that it was natural that his party MPs would resign both from the national and Punjab assemblies if such a decision was ever taken.

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