Friday’s defections: PPP desperate to pay ‘N’ back in same coin
LAHORE, Feb 16: In the ongoing competition of making people in political arena change their loyalties, the PPP could bring only a few district level office-bearers of the PML-N into its fold on Saturday as against the defection of its nine MPAs on Friday.
Punjab PPP president Manzoor Wattoo on Saturday told journalists that PML-N’s Sheikhupura president Haji Khalid Awan along with other office-bearers had joined the PPP. Wattoo however parried a question whether the PML-N’s office-bearers switching over to the PPP was a reply to PPP’s nine MPAs’ defection.
While Wattoo and Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira have played down the defections saying they (nine MPAs) in fact had quit the party long time ago, Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz reveals the party’s intention to take them on. “We will soon file an application in the Election Commission, seeking their disqualification as they can no more take part in the election process under Articles 62 and 63,” Riaz said. “They remain no more honest as they had taken oath of loyalty with the PPP thus should be barred from taking part in elections for ever,” he urged.
Not clear how to respond to journalists’ queries, both Wattoo and Riaz chided the legislators for changing the loyalties and at the same time were critical of the PML-N for causing defections in the PPP ranks.
Those who shook hand with the Sharifs on Friday are Nishat Ahmed Daha, Syed Jamil Shah, Rana Babar Husain and Abbas Zafar Hiraj (all the four from Khanewal district), Rana Munawwar Husain and Sardar Kamil Gujjar (from Sargodha), Javed Alauddin from Okara and Qaiser Sandhu from Gujranwala.
Azma Zahid Bukhari, MPA from women seat, along with her husband, Saimullah Khan (a former PPP MPA from Lahore and party’s general secretary in Punjab) also embraced the PML-N.
President Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur reportedly not only snubbed the party’s provincial chapter leadership but also asked it to give a ‘befitting reply’ to the PML-N in the same manner.
A PPP leader who requested not to be named informed Dawn that Mr Wattoo was advised not to reply the PML-N with a few lower tier leaders and wait till some ‘big names’ showed willingness to join the PPP but he did not listen, thus making a fun of today’s joining.
“The PPP provincial chapter leadership is desperate to bring some PML-N leaders from different districts of Punjab after the Sharifs’ move to show performance to the PPP leadership, especially President Zardari,” he said.
The PPP now also has learned that these nine MPAs had not voted for PPP’s Senate candidate Aslam Gill. “These PPP MPAs had not voted for Mr Gill but the N League candidates,” Kaira said, adding the PPP would reply to the PML-N’s “non-democratic step with democratic one”. He said the PML-N was known for making politicians of other parties change their loyalties. “The PML-N made lotas (turncoats) of PML-Q MPAs. It did so only to form its government in Punjab,” Kaira added.
On the other hand, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah who is at present in Saudi Arabia to perform Umra could not stop issuing a statement saying in the presence of Wattoo no one could remain in the PPP.