Independents to play crucial role in forming incoming Punjab government

Independents to play crucial role in forming incoming Punjab government

LAHORE: After over a decade, the incoming Punjab government will see an interesting mix of lawmakers in the provincial assembly. 

While PML-N — a political heavyweight in Punjab — has secured a strong position with 127 seats in the Punjab Assembly it is only nine seats ahead of PTI. 

In the face of close competition between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to form government in Punjab, independent candidates will pray a crucial role in forming the government in the country's largest province. 

Out of the total 371 seats, a total of 149 seats are required to form the government in Punjab. With 66 seats reserved for women and eight for minorities, PML-N requires 22 of the remaining 74 seats. Similarly, PTI will need 31 independent candidates to join it in order to form the government in the province. 

With 27 seats, independent candidates are the third largest group in the Punjab Assembly. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has bagged seven seats and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional has secured six. With one seat each, Balochistan Awami Party, Muslim League Functional, and Pakistan Awami Raj will also represent their voters in the Punjab Assembly.   

Sources familiar with the matter informed, PTI has invited 14 independent candidates to join the party so far. Party leader Jahangir Tareen and Chaudhry Sarwar are in contact with others.     

Bagging seven seats in Punjab, the role of PTI-ally Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid e Azam Group), too, will be significant.