If you Google the word ‘lota’ an image of around and stout vessel will crop up. This vessel is largely unknown in western cultures but has deep-seated roots in ours. The term ‘lota’ is also used in politics, to describe a candidate who has a tendency to jump ship whenever it suits him. This is due to the tendency of the ‘lota’ to roll down the path of least resistance when it is toppled over.
Politics is largely a game of power and tact. However, there is a certain amount of drama and flair involved as well, especially when it comes to Pakistani politicians and their loyal fan base. While most political strategies are calculated and recalculated numerous times, certain moves have us raising our eyebrows and passing judgments like nobody’s business.

While we all change alliances over the course of time, these turncoat politicians or ‘lotas’ make the election season all the more enjoyable.

Raja Riaz

Former PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) leader Raja Riaz joined PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) on May 12, 2016. This jiyala (supporter) of PPP of 35 years said “I stood with the party in their good and bad times but now I am being pushed against the wall”

Firdaus Aashiq Awan

Former federal minister and PPP stalwart Firdous Ashiq Awan joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on May 27, 2017. “I have complete confidence in the PTI leadership,” Dr. Firdous was reported to have said. “I will take up the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) flag as a party worker and contribute towards the movement to build Pakistan,” she added.

Nadeem Afzal Chan

Senior PPP politician Nadeem Afzal Chan joined the (PTI) on April 25, 2018.

Zulfikar Khosa

Zulfiqar Khosa quit PML-N to join PTI on June 1, 2018.

Sikandar Bosan

The leader of  PML-N and former federal minister, Sikandar Hayat Bosan on June 2, 2018 decided to join PTI.

Makhdoom Faisal Saleh

Former federal minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat joined the PPP on January 10, 2017, more than 14 years after being elected on the PPP ticket in 2002. In between, he formed the PPPP (Pakistan People’s Party Patriots) and even briefly joined the PML-Q before reverting to PPP.

Javed Hashmi

Veteran politician Javed Hashmi has rejoined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on May 12, 2018, ahead of the general elections scheduled for later this year. “The man whose government was toppled three times is fighting for the rights of people,” said Hashmi in support of Nawaz Sharif.

Raza Hayat Hiraj

PML-N MNA Raza Hayat Hiraj on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, joined PTI, the party announced via its social networking site.

Thus, many of our politicians have switched parties multiple times, justifying each move as ideologically motivated. Even though that might not be true in many cases. Co-chairman of PPP, Bilawal Bhutto has said that he doesn’t care for the members who have traded their loyalties for Imran Khan’s PTI but he has declared that he only cares about the ‘jiyala’ and with their support he can bring the party back to power. At this rate, PTI seems to be a refuge for all the lotas that are fleeing other parties. But this influx of ‘new members’ is upsetting the parties’ old members. Tensions are rising and this might not be good especially with the next election on the doorstep.

*Feature Image Credits: Reema Siddiqui/Herald*


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