Tuesday saw another Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) firecracker join the ranks of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI). Firdous Ashiq Awan and her husband both resigned from the PPP in favour of the PTI, which is yet another tell-tale sign of PTI looking to strengthen its ranks with “electables” before the general elections in 2018. Ms Awan enjoys popular support in her constituency in and around the Bajwat villages near Sialkot, so much so that she is one of the few female parliamentarians to contest the general elections without a reserved seat and emerge triumphant. Her defeat in 2013 can be attributed to her time as Information Minister – many that hold the coveted post during a government have had a tough time winning a seat in the next elections.

PTI has previously drawn many members of PPP to join PTI, General Secretary of PTI Shah Mehmood Qureshi is one of the more prominent names. Like Ms Awan, Mr Qureshi enjoyed immense popularity with his electorate and was widely touted as a shining star for PPP. However, his switch to PTI has seen that star fade from prominence, with a designation that seems significant but is actually of little relevance – with the party chief making all the important decisions without much input. Will Ms Awan add to her popularity and involve herself within the centre of power of the party or will she become yet another electable that brings a lot to the table for the party but actually gains little? An answer to this will only be forthcoming as her position within her new party becomes clearer with time.

Ms Ashiq Awan is known to her constituency as a hard worker, willing to deliver for the people that vote for her. Her inclusion into PTI is certainly a boon for the party, but it is up to the party leadership to determine just how beneficial this switch will prove to be in the coming year. If PTI manages to win more seats then in the previous term, there might be a chance for party members to occupy prominent positions in government as part of an alliance or the majority party. However, the party has shown a tendency for individuality – where members are known for their brilliance individually, while the party itself only has one face. Will this latest injection turn into yet another case of the party as a whole being less than the sum of individual talents and skills? It will be a pity if that is the case.