‘Q’ Forward Bloc won’t join ‘N’

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LAHORE – The PML-Q Forward Bloc in the Punjab Assembly has categorically announced not to join the PML-N after gaining an independent status, brushing aside the possibility of moves aimed at providing a numerical majority to the PML-N for ousting the PPP from the provincial government.
Sources in the Forward Bloc said all members had unanimously decided not to forge an alliance with the PML-N and voted in favour of maintaining the group’s separate identity, which would hopefully be granted by the Punjab Assembly speaker in a couple of days. Talking to Pakistan Today, Forward bloc chief Dr Tahir Ali Javed said, “It is prerogative of the speaker to confer on us an independent status and separate seats to allow the unification bloc to play its role in the House business. Party leader could exercise the same the right under the 18th Amendment, but after the next elections.”
To a query, he said the defection clause under article 63A would be applicable if the bloc joined any parliamentary party in the assembly. “Since we are not going to join any party, the clause will never come into play,” he added. The PML-Q had only 34 elected members and in comparison, the unification had a strength of 47 parliamentary members.
Forward Bloc leader Atta Manika said the PML-N and the Punjab government had not assured the bloc of the speaker accepting their application. He said it was the last card the group had put on the table to put the bond between the unification bloc and the PML-N to the test. “If it turns out to be a drama, the bloc would go its own way,” he added.
Meanwhile, the PML-Q has started mulling the option of thwarting the bloc’s move for independence, a PML-Q office-bearer said. He said that party had discussed at length sending fake degree case to the Election Commission against leaders who backed the application forwarded to the speaker on behalf of the Forward Bloc.
A PML-N senior leader said the defection law was the brainchild of the PML-N’s 1997 government and the spirit of the legislation was to stop floor crossing.