Free Press Journal

Pakistan elections 2018: 18 independent candidates in Punjab pledge support to Imran Khan’s PTI


Islamabad: Pakistani politician Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, shows his marked thumb after casting his vote at a polling station for the parliamentary elections in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. After an acrimonious campaign, polls opened in Pakistan on Wednesday to elect the country's third straight civilian government, a first for this majority Muslim nation that has been directly or indirectly ruled by its military for most of its 71-year history. AP/PTI(AP7_25_2018_000055B)

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.