18 independent candidates in Punjab pledge support to PTI

Islamabad: In a major setback to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, its long-term stronghold province in Pakistan has been finally breached as 18 independent candidates on Thursday decided to ally with former cricketer Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf to form next PTI government in Punjab.

The province was being ruled by the Sharif family since 1988 who were confident of forming the government this time too, Geo News reported.

It is believed that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had fielded comparatively weak candidates against the independent candidates with the hope that they would join the party after winning elections.

PML-N had got an overwhelming majority in 2013 polls in Punjab, however, with preliminary results from 252 constituencies available with Election Commission of Pakistan, PTI has taken lead in the province after claiming victory on 97 seats while PML-N is close behind with 96 seats.

Punjab holds the status of a “kingmaker” for being the most populous state and having the largest number of seats in the National Assembly (141). The party winning the Punjab will have their doors open for power in Islamabad since the province contributes maximum seats in the National Assembly.