Home Latest News At Least Six Independents Join PMLN in National Assembly

At Least Six Independents Join PMLN in National Assembly

PTI-backed candidate retain numerical majority in Lower House, but currently require coalition if they wish to form the next government

by Staff Report

As the race to form the next government at the center intensifies, at least six candidates who won seats in the National Assembly as independents have announced allegiance to the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), including one who was elected with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s support.

On Sunday, PTI-backed Waseem Qadir, who won the election from NA-121 (Lahore-V), announced he was joining the PMLN. “I have returned to my home,” he said in a video statement issued by the PMLN.

Qadir, a former PMLN MPA and ex-deputy mayor of Lahore, had joined the PTI in December 2018 shortly after the general elections. According to the PMLN, he called on PMLN chief organizer Maryam Nawaz on Sunday and announced an intent to rejoin the party. Reacting to the decision, PTI leader Gohar Ali Khan claimed the party had earlier had “reservations” about Qadir, but did not clarify why it had chosen to pick him as its candidate for NA-121 if it were uncertain of his loyalties.

Since the Feb. 8 elections, Raja Khurram Nawaz from NA-48; Barrister Aqeel from NA-54; Pir Zahoor Hussain Qureshi from NA-146; Sardar Shamsher Mazari from NA-189; and Barrister Mian Khan Bugti from NA-253 have also announced they are joining the PML-N. Among these, Nawaz and Qureshi were both formerly members of the PTI. Aqeel, meanwhile, was denied a ticket by the PMLN and decided to contest as an independent. In a video statement posted after his victory, he said his seat was a “gift” to the PMLN and he would remain loyal to the party.

Any aspirant to the Prime Minister’s Office requires 169 votes in the National Assembly; a number that no single party can claim at this juncture. While PTI-backed independent candidates lead with around 93 seats in the Lower House, the PMLN is in second with 75, while the PPP has 54. The PTI has already announced it would not enter into any coalition with either the PPP or PMLN, indicating a coalition between the two parties would likely emerge in the coming days to lead the next government.

Additionally, six winning candidates to the Punjab Assembly have also announced an intent to join the PMLN, shoring up its numbers in the provincial assembly.

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