Crossing party lines - The MNA edition

View a list of the defections by members elected to Pakistan’s lower house of parliament in the 2008-2013 term here. (Note: The key is to the right.)  This list will be updated if/when more politicians switch parties in the run up to the elections. 


Crossing party lines isn't a new concept in Pakistan. The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid was a party of defectors - such as Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Faisal Saleh Hayat - who joined from the PML-N and the PPP. And inevitably, politicians go to parties that they feel will win the elections or be a major force to contend with. Fairly few would cross over for ideological reasons, but most politicians publicly claim that this is their only reason.

The 'shift' in the mood in Pakistan was evidenced in 2011 when several politicians - including Shah Mehmood Qureshi (PPP) and Javed Hashmi (PML-N) - quit their parties after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf held a large rally in Lahore. As the date for the 2013 elections approached, there was a surge in politicians defecting from their own parties. As far as the numbers go, the ANP lost one MNA to the PPP. The PML-N snapped up at least six MNAs from the PML-Q and the PPP, and the PTI has seven former legislators.  The PML-Q has lost 12 candidates it gave MNA tickets to.

Some of these contests will make for interesting viewing in the days ahead. What I'm particularly interested in seeing develop will be Sheikh Waqas Akram's campaign in Jhang, given the Sipah-e-Sahaba's anger at the PML-N for getting a critic of theirs on board, as well as the election in Muzaffargarh where Jamshed Ahmed Dasti is planning to run against Hina Rabbani Khar. Dasti and Khar were elected on PPP seats, but Dasti has quit based on his opposition to the influential Khar family.