LAHORE - As a prelude to formation of new Punjab government, the PTI and the PML-N have intensified efforts to increase their respective numbers in the Punjab Assembly where the independents have emerged as the third largest group holding the key to the making of new set up with 27 seats in hand.

The two parties are in contact with the independent members-elect to seek their support.

There are also reports that they are being offered lucrative ministries in return for this favour.

Though the PML-N has appeared as the single largest party with 129 seats out of total 297 general seats, it is closely followed by the PTI which claims to have won 123 seats, according to the unofficial results.

The independents have been successful on 27 seats from across Punjab while the PML-Q and the PPP have won seven and six seats respectively.

In the given situation, the role of independently elected members has become all the more important as no single party can form its government on its own. Although diminished largely by the political upheavals, the PML-Q with only seven seats in its pocket has also come to a position where it can dictate its terms for cooperation with the PTI.

PTI’s spokesperson and member-elect National Assembly and Punjab Assembly, Fawad Ch on Friday said that the PTI had contested July 25 election in alliance with the PML-Q, hence the seven seats secured by this party should also be counted towards the total number of seats obtained by his party.

He claimed that 18 independents will announce to join the PTI on Saturday (today).

Aleem Khan who is aspiring to become the new Punjab chief minister is reportedly contacting the independents to join the PTI.

PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz Sharif on Friday also established his party’s claim on government formation in the biggest province.

Addressing a press conference here, Hamza reminded the PTI chief Imran Khan of a good gesture shown by Nawaz Sharif in 2013 when he allowed the PTI to form government in KP despite having the required numbers to place his government there.

PML-N could have formed its government in KP with the help of allies, but it respected PTI’s mandate of being the single largest party. It hadn't happened before in Pakistan's history," he recalled, adding PML-N had emerged as the single largest party in Punjab and as such it had the right to form government here.

He was confident that the PML-N could form the government with the help of independents.

In a House of 371, 186 seats are required to form the government. Any party that manages to win the support of 148 directly elected members can form its government after addition of reserved seats for women and those of non-Muslims to be added in a certain proportion.

The House will become complete as soon as the Election Commission notifies the selection of women on 66 reserved seats and eight on minority seats in accordance with the respective priority lists of political parties.



Battle for Punjab hots up