Unification Bloc may abandon Sharifs for PTI


It seems that the beleaguered Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is about to suffer another political blow as the Unification Bloc – the PML-Quaid’s breakaway faction in Punjab which was loyal to the Sharifs, now seems eager to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). After Shah Mehmood Qureshi joined the PTI and other political giants are expected to swap the Unification Bloc for Imran Khan’s party, the Sharifs have started to have sleepless nights.
Lobbyists within the bloc have begun to flex their muscles to join the PTI to share the political windfalls likely to fall in Khan’s lap in the near future. They have started organizing marathon meetings to convince bloc members to abandon the Sharifs, “who never reciprocate their selfless love for the PML-N” and think about joining Khan’s army to secure their political careers. Most of the bloc members, who had been dormant and had grievances with the Punjab government, have been in close contact with one another since mid November and it seems that they are trying to hash out a strategy in the light of the country’s changing political landscape.
“People as individuals and in groups have also expressed their feelings to Unification Bloc head Dr Tahir Ali Javed of quitting the PML-N and joining the PTI and a final decision is taking shape fast and will be ready to be announced soon,” a senior bloc member told Pakistan Today. He said one of the major reasons behind the move was the frosty attitude of both the Sharif brothers.
“We stayed loyal to the Sharifs during the governor’s rule and proved our unshaken belief in them. But, in reply, Nawaz refused to bless us with PML-N tickets in the upcoming elections,” he said.
“It is a bitter reality that the PML-N does not think of the Unification Bloc as a friend. Contrary to the promise, the reconciliation process could not be initiated between the members of the bloc and the PML-N even at the district level,” he said. “We also resigned from 11 posts of chairmen of standing committees and three slots of political assistants in the Punjab Assembly for the cause of the PML-N. However, the Sharifs kept us at an arm’s length,” another member of bloc said.
The Unification Bloc head admitted that the bloc members had conveyed to him that they were mulling joining the PTI. “They have also asked me about what I think as they are seriously weighing their options,” he added.
He also admitted that most of the bloc members had frayed ties with the PML-N due to the Punjab government’s “unfriendly treatment” meted out to them.
However, he said so far the situation was under control as a majority of the bloc’s members were still loyal to the PML-N. “We believe that changing a political party once and again may backfire,” Javed said. He said a decision regarding joining the PTI would be taken when the time came.


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