THE efforts by PML(Q) President Ch Shujaat Hussain and former Punjab CM Ch Pervaiz Elahi to gain some ground among the mainstream political parties appear to be an act of desperation. Both stressed the need for dialogue among democratic forces in their separate media interactions in Lahore on Wednesday. Ch Shujaat described the merger of Muslim Leagues as an encouraging development and called for unity of thought and action among all parties while his cousin seriously doubted the PML(N) leadership's sincerity in bringing together all the League factions. Replying to a question at a press conference he said Ghous Ali Shah and Ishaq Dar had approached the PML(Q) leadership before the presidential election to get support for Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui, and since then there had been no contact between the two parties. Perhaps he did not feel the need to elaborate how many times his party had approached other factions seeking a merger. The former CM must have forgotten the treatment his government had meted out to political opponents when he scathingly criticized the Punjab Government for victimizing his party workers throughout the province. There is no disputing his assertion that a democratic attitude must be reflected in actions of political leaders. But if he was referring to the ruling party's attempt to create dissention in the PML(Q) by supporting the Forward Bloc in it, he should keep in mind that it was during his stint that the Punjab witnessed the worst horsetrading. Those who agreed to switch over to the government were rewarded with lucrative positions, while those who refused were implicated in false cases. Ch Pervaiz's observation that General (retd) Musharraf cannot take part in active politics for at least two years needs to be seen in the backdrop of intraparty squabbling over the change of leadership. And his call to the media to discourage the Q-dissidents trying to deprive him and his cousin of their party offices, came on the heels of some of his party legislators' meeting with the former President. Many among them were those who had been publicly complaining against their leadership for running the party without taking their colleagues into confidence. That Musharraf was often found to be on the same page with the complainants had been a cause of concern for the Chaudhrys of Gujrat. They may now regret their earlier pledges of electing Musharraf as President in uniform over and over again, but will certainly find it difficult to block the onslaught of their detractors who will spare no effort to ditch them now that their supportbase has almost been eroded away.