Some independents have a history of switching loyalties

Faizan Bangash
Monday, Feb 12, 2024

LAHORE: Situation has become quite interesting after the February 2024 general elections as some of the politicians, who have a history of switching loyalties, have also won as independent MNAs or MPAs from Punjab.

Three MNAs elected in independent capacity from Punjab include those who won on PPP ticket in the 2002 general elections and joined a new group named PPP-Patriot on the instructions of the then establishment to support the then kings party, PMLQ to form government in Centre.

Besides, some newly elected independent MNAs or MPAs from Punjab are also those who were the part of PMLQ forward bloc that supported PMLN after February 2008 polls. For NA 100, Faisalabad, Dr Nisar Ahmad Jutt has once again got elected MNA after 2002, this time, as the PTI backed independent candidate. Nisar Jutt has defeated Rana Sanaullah. In the year 2002, Nisar Jutt got elected as MNA on PPP ticket after a few weeks, he joined PPP- Patriot group in the National Assembly that was led by Rao Sikandar Iqbal and Faisal Saleh Hayat.

From NA 114, Khurram Munawar Manj has got elected as MNA as an independent candidate with the backing of PTI while defeating PMLN MNA Irfan Dogar. Khurram Munawar Manj was MNA of PPP in 2002 but he also joined PPP-Patriot group.

Raza Hayat Hiraj is another independent MNA who has got elected for the fourth term from Khanewal. Raza was PPP MNA in 2002 and he also joined PPP-Patriot group and became minister. He remained with PMLQ till 2013, later joined PMLN and served as its MNA till 2018.

Similarly, Syed Raza Ali Gilani has also got elected as MNA in independent capacity while defeating the PMLN candidate. Raza Ali has served as provincial minister in the cabinets of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and later in Shehbaz Sharif’s cabinet. He lost the 2018 general elections in the hands of an independent candidate Jugnoo Mohsin who remained close to PMLN later. Raza joined PTI later and was fielded on the National Assembly seat that he won.

His another colleague in the 2002 Punjab cabinet, Mian Ejaz Shafi has also got elected as an independent MPA from Rahim Yar Khan. It is a quite interesting fact that both Raza and Ejaz Shafi also got elected MPA on PMLQ ticket but later joined the party’s forward block. In 2013, both of them were MPA of PMLN.