After Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Mahmood Maulvi predictably quit the party, reportedly under pressure from the army, many more leaders, mostly electable candidates are sitting on the fence. The clock is ticking.
Maullvi, who represented the constituency of NA-176 in Punjab, announced his decision to leave PTI in a press conference in Islamabad. Though he did not say that he had been facing pressure from the army to leave the party, political pundits see his decision to avoid the problems the PTI is facing now.
Maullvi’s decision to quit PTI is a major setback for the party, which is already facing a crisis following the ouster of Imran Khan as prime minister.
It is believed that many more PTI MNAs are planning to quit the party in the coming days. The PTI had embraced several leaders from the PPP, PML-N and other parties after its all-time hit rally of Minar-i-Pakistan in October 2011.
They eagerly joined the PTI in the wake of growing popularity of Imran Khan.
Now, it is high time some or most of them will fly to cozy destination.
Some of the predictable names could be former estranged PML-N lawmakers who had formed the Junoobi Punjab Suba Mahaz (JPSM) and later merged into the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Pakistan’s political history is replete with “lotacracy”, a term used to describe the practice of politicians switching parties for personal gain. This practice has been a major factor in the instability of Pakistan’s political system.
The big question is regarding the Chaudhrys of Gujrat. They have always taken the side of the army in the past. This time, however, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, the chief minister of Punjab, has not yet ditched PTI. This is strange, as the army is known to have been pressuring PTI MNAs to leave the party.
It is possible that Elahi is waiting to see how the situation unfolds before making a decision. It is also possible that he is under pressure from his son, Moonis Elahi, to stay in PTI. Only time will tell what Elahi’s decision will be.
The defection of PTI MNAs is a major blow to the party. It is also a sign of the deep divisions within the party. It remains to be seen whether PTI will be able to survive these divisions and emerge as a strong force in Pakistani politics.