KARACHI - Musharraf-led APML yesterday suffered a setback when more than a dozen of its leading figures left the party and joined PSP. This move also damaged the purposed move of a grand alliance aimed at giving tough time to the ruling PML-N.

It is pertinent to mention here that efforts were in progress by some circles to unite all factions of Muslim League – PML-Functional, PML-Q, APML and Sheikh Rasheed`s Awami Musilm League – under the umbrella of GDA. Moreover, the development also caused dent to GDA in Sindh formed against the PPP-led government.

Former All Pakistan Muslim League secretary information Aasia Ishaq along with 16 other party leaders from different provinces of the country, especially from the Punjab, announced to join Mustafa Kamal`s Pak Sarzameen Party.

Commenting on the move, Ahmed Raza Kasuri told The Nation that switching of more than a dozen of senior party members of All Pakistan Muslim League to Pak Sarzameen Party should be considered as a routine matter. Kasuri said people change their affiliations from time to time, but it does not affect the party. Giving the example of Pakistan People’s Party senior leader Raja Riaz who joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, he said shifting of loyalties doesn’t mean end of a party.

“Politics is a long journey. It depends upon how much you can walk,” he said. When asked it’s generally believed PSP would be a part of the APML in future, Kasuri said that argument carries weight, but God knows better about the future.

The joining of APML leaders created stir in the political circles as it appeared Kamal’s PSP had failed to attract the masses in their hometown despite a dazzling launch.

The AMPL leaders who joined PSP are Central Vice President Lala Abdul Qayyum, former Punjab Assembly member Naila Imam, Punjab President Dr Farooq Cheema, Joint Sectary Ali Abbas, Dr Kashif Bukhari, Qadri Iftikhar-ud-Din, Amir Khan, Lahore President Shabbir Shah Bukhari, Sindh Vice President Syed Asim, Peshawar’s Imtiaz Tanoli, Syed Ijaz Hussain Shah and others.

“All of us have decided to work for the development of the country instead of staying home. PSP ideology reflects patriotism and all of us stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the PSP leadership,” said Aasia Ishaq, addressing media men at Pakistan House along with Mustafa Kamal and other PSP leaders.

“We have tried to convince more of the party members across the county and today more than a dozen APML leaders have joined PSP. These members have remained on the major slots of AMPL in the past,” Aasia said. She added she had informed AMPL Chief Pervez Musharraf of her joining PSP.

Speaking on the occasion, PSP Chief Mustafa Kamal welcomed the new members and stated that the party is determined to save lives of the people while change will come gradually. He said the party has opened its offices in Punjab while three main offices are working in Sukkur. He announced the party offices will be opened soon in Balochistan.

“I never remained in contact with the AMPL chief, said Kamal, responding to a question. He rejected the impression of pressure on the leaders to join PSP, adding people were joining his party on their own will. “Many MQM members are also willing to join PSP, but we will not welcome them as our party has certain rules,” he added.

Criticising MQM deputy convener Dr Farooq Sattar, he said, instead of commenting on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he should come up with clear stance over his party’s links with Indian spy agency RAW.

To another query, the PSP leader said it seems the state has decided not to take any action over MQM’s links with RAW as the rulers want to use Altaf Hussain to run their provincial and federal governments.

Warning K-Electric, Kamal said the officials of the private power company should halt unannounced power suspension otherwise people will be on the roads and the situation might get worse.