12 Feb 2024
As the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) deadline for independents to join any political party or retain independent status inches close, almost six candidates have announced joining the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which has emerged as the single largest party in Feb 8 elections.
The independents' decision to join PML-N raises concerns for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which has hundreds of independent candidates in national and provincial assemblies, who may switch their loyalties.
With neither PML-N nor PPP having secured a clear majority in the recent elections, both parties are actively making efforts to secure alliances with elected independent candidates to establish a coalition government at the centre.
PML-N has garnered support from six independent candidates, including Wassem Qadir backed by PTI in NA-121, Lahore. Qadir, a former PML-N member, previously served as the deputy mayor of Lahore before joining PTI in 2018.
During a meeting with PML-N seniour vice-president Maryam Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, he announced joining the party.
“I have returned to my home,” the PTI dissident said in a video message.
پاکستان مسلم لیگ (ن) کے لئے ایک اور سیاسی کامیابی— President PMLN Punjab (@PresPMLNPunjab) February 11, 2024
پنجاب اسمبلی کے حلقہ پی پی 97 چنیوٹ سے کامیاب آزاد امیدوار محمد ثاقب خان چدھڑ مسلم لیگ (ن) میں شامل ہوگئے
محمد ثاقب خان چدھڑ کی پاکستان مسلم لیگ (ن) کے صدر شہباز شریف سے ملاقات اور پارٹی میں شمولیت کا اعلان
سابق وزیر اعظم اور… pic.twitter.com/PUgW3w2clW
Another independent candidates, Raja Khurram Nawaz (NA-48 Islamabad), Barrister Aqeel (NA-54 Rawalpindi), Pir Zahoor Hussain Qureshi of (NA-146 Khanewal), Sardar Shamsher Mazari (NA-189, and Barrister Mian Khan Bugti (NA-253) have all affiliated themselves with PML-N.
Furthermore, the PML-N's count of seats in the Punjab Assembly saw an increase on Sunday with the inclusion of Mohammad Saqib Khan Chadhar. He secured victory as an independent candidate in PP-97 (Chiniot-IV) and chose to align himself with the party.