Islamabad: Pakistan’s largest province with more than 100-million population is fast slipping from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) hands as three more newly elected independent Members of the Provincial Assembly (MPAs) announced to join Pakistan Tehree-e-Insaf at Bani Gala on Monday.
They announced this after a meeting with PTI chairman Imran Khan and other senior leadership of the party.
The MPAs-elect include Ameer Mouhammad Khan (PP-89 Bhakkar), Saeed Akbar Niwani (PP-90 Bhakkar) and Fida Wattoo (PP-277 Bahawalnagar).
They expressed their confidence in the leadership of Imran Khan and pledged they would lend their support for the PTI.
With the support of 138 members, the PTI is now in a commanding position in the Punjab assembly and requires only 11 more general members’ support to gain simple majority of 149 directly elected MPAs.
The Punjab Assembly has a total of 371 seats. However, the number of seats allocated to directly elected members is 297 and a party with 149 directly elected members is entitled to form government in the province.
The rest of the seats are reserved for women and non-Muslims and are allocated to the parties in proportion with their number of general seats.
In the July 25 election, the PTI won 123 seats in Punjab against PML-N’s 129. Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) got 8 while Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won six seats in the assembly. The PPP has already announced to sit in the opposition in the provincial assembly.
The PML-Q leadership has indicated to join the PTI and its leader and former chief minister of Punjab, Pervaiz Elahi, is scheduled to meet Imran Khan soon.
If the PML-Q joins the PTI, it will take the latter’s number 131.
Last weekend, four independents met Imran Khan and formally joined the party that further raised the number 135.
With the three new arrivals on Monday party stands at 138.
Sources in PTI say they are confident to achieve the required number by August 2. Meanwhile, Punjab Assembly’s session for oath-taking of the members is expected to be convened by the outgoing speaker of the assembly in second week of August and the PTI is hopeful to have more independents’ support by that time.
On the other hand, the future of the PML-N looks bleak and the party seems to be facing difficulties in winning the independents’ support to form its government in the province.
Although the party claims support of eight independent candidates, so far it announced their names publicly and its efforts to woo the Pakistan Peoples Party and the PML-Q have already proved futile.