PESHAWAR – Switching loyalties has been ad nauseam in Pakistani politics and politicians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are alacritous to this convention.  

Several former ministers, MNAs, MPAs, district nazims and influential people have been switching association from one party to another for a year or so and several of them have even done it more than once.

Despite proclaiming many reasons of flip-flopping, the glaring ones are to find a safe option for victory in general elections and attaining lucrative public office.

Khwaja Mohammad Khan Hoti, former ANP MNA and federal minister, left his party in protest against ‘its corruption’ in KPK.

Getting impressed by Imran Khan’s stance against corruption, Hoti, along with his son Umer Farooq Khan, joined PTI on December 16, 2011 at a public meeting in his native town Mardan in the presence of Imran Khan.

However, he soon got disillusioned with the PTI, arguing that the party had been flooded by corrupt politicians and it could not eliminate corruption in presence of such swindlers.

After having been in contacts with various political parties, he finally reposed his confidence in Nawaz Sharif and joined the PML-N on December 3.

Former federal minister Ameer Muqam, was elected MNA in 2002 on the platform of MMA but deserted his party and joined the ruling PML-Q to see himself perching at the Ministry of Water And Power.

He was re-elected MNA in 2008, contesting for PML-Q.

When his party joined the ruling coalition, Muqam forged differences over the portfolio he was given and parted ways with the PML-Q.

Found refuge in the ranks of the PML-N, Muqam embraced Nawaz Sharif on April 6, 2012 and was appointed as senior central vice president of the party.

He also brought three KPK MPAs, Fazlullah, Rashad Khan and Sanaullah Miankhel, to the PML-N. Iftikhar Hussain Gilani, a former federal minister in the first government of Benazir Bhutto, had been running around between parties. Following his allegiance with PPP, PML-N, and PML-Q, he knocked the door of the PTI last year.

However, his unbridled tendency did not let him to stay there longer and on October 26, 2012 he joined PML-N along with former provincial lawmaker Iftikhar Udeen Khattak.

Former PML-Q MNA Alhaj Mohammad Khan Utmankhel, sensing his party’s unpopularity, joined the PTI in January 2012.

Former PML-Q senator Lala Nisar Mohammad Khan from Charsadda left the party after developing differences with leadership and joined Pervez Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML). But, after seeing little future of the party, he became the part of PTI tsunami last year.  Former federal minister and JUI-F senator Azam Swati forwent his party and became a PTI stalwart in KPK.

After sailing with the then PPP Sherpao (now Qaumi Watan Party), PML-N and PTI, Nawabzada Mohsin Ali Khan from Karak district has recently joined the ANP. Hailing from Mansehra, Habibur Rehman Tanoli won 2008 MPA election as an independent candidate, but he later supported the PPP and was made provincial minister. However, a few months ago, Tanoli joined the ruling ANP.

Former Intelligence Bureau chief Masood Sharif Khattak, who had resigned from the PPP in 2007, joined PTI last year.

Former central finance secretary of the ANP, Hashim Babar left the party after being denied nomination for Senate membership and jumped into PTI on April 26, 2012.

In Hazara division, former provincial minister and PML-N leader Yousaf Ayub Khan, former Haripur district nazim Dr Amer Zaman, former MPA Faisal Zaman Jahazan Wala, former National Assembly deputy speaker Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob, former provincial minister Sardar Idrees swore allegiance to the PTI after breaking ties with their previous parties.

Many MPAs are too in contact with parties to strike a better deal before elections.

Pervez Khattak, who won his seat on PPP-S ticket in 2008 from district Nowshera, joined the PPP and was made irrigation minister. He, however, resigned from the ministry and joined the PTI along with former PPP provincial minister Iqbal Hussain Khattak last years. Rumours are circulating that Khattak is uncomfortable with the PTI and can leave the party. PML-Q’s KPK spokesperson and MPA Nighat Orakzai joined PPP.

Shazia Aurangzeb, who was the central general secretary of PML-N women wing, also joined the PPP after having differences with party leadership. Former KPK finance minister Iftikhar Khan Mohmand, who had been elected MPA five times, had stopped taking part in active politics. However, PPP KPK President Anwar Saifullah persuaded him to join his party.  There are several other rats among the flanks of all political parties who can switch affiliations at any time.