Monday, February 12, 2024
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Elections 2024: Triumphant independents with history of switching loyalties

These independents include 3 MNAs who won 2002 polls on PPP tickets and joined PPP-Patriot to support PML-Q

Independents (L-R) Dr Nisar Ahmad Jutt, Khurram Munawar Manj and Raza Hayat Hiraj. — Facebook/NA website
Independents (L-R) Dr Nisar Ahmad Jutt, Khurram Munawar Manj and Raza Hayat Hiraj. — Facebook/NA website

LAHORE: With the general elections of 2024 concluding and the results announced, the situation has now become quite interesting as some of the politicians, who have a history of switching loyalties, have also won as independents from Punjab, The News reported Monday. 

These independents include three members of the National Assembly (MNAs), who won the 2002 general elections on Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) tickets and joined a group named PPP-Patriot on the instructions of the then-establishment to support Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) to form government in Centre.

Besides, some newly elected independent MNAs or members of the provincial assembly (MPAs) from Punjab are also those who were the part of PML-Q forward bloc that supported Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after the February 2008 polls. 

For NA-100 Faisalabad, Dr Nisar Ahmad Jutt has once again been elected MNA after 2002, this time, as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidate after defeating PML-N's Rana Sanaullah.

In the year 2002, Jutt was elected as MNA on a PPP ticket and after a few weeks, he joined the PPP-Patriot group in the National Assembly. The group was led by Rao Sikandar Iqbal and Faisal Saleh Hayat.

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

Raza Hayat Hiraj is another independent MNA who has been elected for the fourth term from Khanewal. Raza was PPP's MNA in 2002 and also joined the PPP-Patriot group and became a minister. He remained with PML-Q till 2013 and later joined PML-N and served as its MNA till 2018.

Similarly, Syed Raza Ali Gilani has also been elected as MNA in an independent capacity while defeating the PML-N candidate. Raza 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 PML-N. Raza later joined PTI and was fielded for the National Assembly seat which he won.

His other colleague in the 2002 Punjab cabinet, Mian Ejaz Shafi, also got elected as an independent MPA from Rahim Yar Khan. 

It is quite an interesting fact that both Raza and Shafi were also elected MPA on a PML-Q ticket but later joined the party’s forward block. In 2013, both of them were MPAs of PML-N.