ISLAMABAD – The trend of changing political loyalty seems to have soared ahead of the next general elections, as many sitting PPP MPAs from southern Punjab are learnt to have developed contacts with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

According to sources, two lawmakers from the ruling Pakistan People’s Party are in the process of negotiations with senior PML-N leaders. Bilal Khar and Arshad Siyal had parleys with leaders from the main opposition group but would not disclose the outcome. Perhaps because they are still at the crossroads or they are not willing to make their would-be affiliation public.

Talking to The Nation, the two MPAs parried a question about their meetings with the N-League and just stated, "We have not yet finalised any thing.”

It will not be wrong to say the year 2012 was a year of political defection when crossovers from one party to another grew radically, setting the trend for the election year.

Not surprisingly, the trend is growing too fast. Many parties, notably the PPP, have lost many of their members. Recently Pir Shujaat Hasnain Bodla and PPP senior legislator Zafar Ali Shah joined the PML-N. Raja Muhammad Afzal along with his two MNA sons Raja Safdar and Raja Asad, who were elected to the National Assembly in the 2008 polls on PML-N tickets, joined the PPP. Also, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf roped in PPP's Afzal Sindho. Unlike a few of the MPs, most of the politicians are avoiding to divulge their future affiliations and keep it to them for a month or so.

As some big names from different parties, such as Nabeel Gabol, Leghari brothers from southern Punjab, Sheikh Waqas Akram , Raza Hayat, are likely to change their party affiliation in a month.

Political pundits believe although this vague situation will be clear by the time the assemblies are dissolved, a large number of other political opportunists are waiting to use their options when a caretaker set-up is in place.