Sunday, February 11, 2024
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Web Desk

First PTI wicket falls as Waseem Qadir, who won from NA-121, joins PML-N

"For the development of my constituency and my people, I have joined Muslim League-Noon again," says Qadir

By
Web Desk
PTI-backed independent candidate Waseem Qadir (right) with PML-N leaders in Lahore, on February 11, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — PML-N
PTI-backed independent candidate Waseem Qadir (right) with PML-N leaders in Lahore, on February 11, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — PML-N

  • Qadir joins PML-N once again for "development" of people.
  • He announces this after meeting top PML-N leader Maryam.
  • "I have returned to my home,” ex-PTI leader Qadir says.


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidate Waseem Qadir, who had won the February 8 elections from the National Assembly’s NA-121 constituency in Lahore, has announced joining the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

In a video statement released by the Nawaz Sharif-led party, Qadir could be seen with PML-N leaders — including Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz — and saying that he’s “back home”.

The loss of the Lahore seat, which Qadir won by defeating PML-N’s Sheikh Rohail Asgher by a margin of more than 8,000 votes, is a major setback for the PTI as the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have already said that they’ll be seeking the support of independent candidates for coming into power.

“I am Waseem Qadir. I was PTI’s Lahore secretary-general. I have returned to my home,” the ex-PTI leader said, who is the first elected member to desert the party post-elections.

“For the development of my constituency and my people, I have joined Muslim League-Noon again,” Qadir said.

The party of former prime minister Nawaz is second with 79 seats after Thursday's vote, lacking a clear majority but it is the largest single party in parliament as Imran Khan-backed independents ran as individuals.

Following the election results, both PTI and PML-N declared victory, adding to the uncertainty as the country faces numerous urgent challenges, including negotiating a new International Monetary Fund programme to keep a struggling economy afloat.

A prime ministerial candidate has to show a simple majority of 169 seats in the National Assembly when the house is called in the coming days. This will be determined by coalition talks and whether Khan-backed candidates are able to join a smaller party in parliament to form a single bloc to gain reserve seats.

In the lead-up to the elections, Qadir campaigned and called on the people to vote for him as he was the candidate of the incarcerated Khan.

The PTI had, prior to the elections, cautioned that independents might switch loyalties, but at the same time, hoped that they would not desert the party.