Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidate Waseem Qadir has joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after winning the general election in Lahore’s NA-121 constituency.
In a video statement issued by the Nawaz Sharif-led party, Qadir was shown among PML-N leaders, including senior vice-president Maryam Nawaz, declaring that he was “home again.”
The loss of the Lahore seat, which Qadir won by defeating PML-N’s Sheikh Rohail Asgher by over 8,000 votes, is a major setback for the PTI as the PML-N and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have already declared will seek the support of independent candidates to form the government.
“I am Waseem Qadir. I was general secretary of PTI Lahore. “I have returned home,” said the ex-PTI leader, who is the first elected member to leave the party after the elections.” I have rejoined PML-N for the development of my constituency and my people,” he added.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s party is in second place with 79 seats after Thursday’s election, lacking an outright majority, but is the largest single party in parliament because PTI-backed independent candidates are running individually.
Both the PTI and the PML-N declared victory after the election, adding to the country’s insecurity as it faces a number of pressing issues, including negotiating a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program to keep the crippled economy afloat.
When the National Assembly is reconvened in the next few days, the candidate for Prime Minister must secure a simple majority of 169 deputies. Coalition talks will determine whether Khan-backed candidates can form a unified bloc with a smaller party in parliament to secure spare seats.