LAHORE - With all the Punjab Assembly results declared by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the PML-N is now in a comfortable position to form its government in Punjab even without the backing of any political party.
As the PPP and the PML-N are engaged in negotiations to form governments in the center and the provinces, Punjab is the only province where the latter does not need the support of the former.
According to the results announced by the ECP, the PML-N has emerged as the single largest party with 137 seats, followed by the PTI backed independents who are 116 in number, but they lack the legitimate right to get reserved seats. The number of other independents not supported by the PTI is 22. The PPP and the PML-Q have won 10 and 8 seats respectively. Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) and PML-Zia have won one seat each. Election could not be held on one Punjab Assembly seat. These numerics have deprived the PPP, the PML-Q and other parties of the leverage to make the PML-N dependent on their support as the latter just needs 12 independents to form its government in Punjab. Also, out of the 22 non-PTI backed independents, some belong to the PML-N who could not get a party ticket. The rest are most likely to join the PML-N in a few days taking its total strength to 159. Once they join this party, the PML-N will get additional 35 reserved seats for women and four seats of non-Muslims. According to the reserved seats’ allocation formula which is in proportion to the number of general seats a political party gets in a legislature, 4.5 general seats of Punjab Assembly make one reserved seat for women; and 37.12 general seats make one seat for non-Muslims. In this way, the PML-N’s tally would touch the figure of around 200 in a house of 371. Even in the worst-case scenario for the PML-N in case all the independents both PTI backed and those not backed it, join the PPP, the PML-Q and other smaller parties, their combined strength cannot cross the figure of 163 or 164 (including the four reserved seats) which too far away from the magic figure of 186 necessary to form government with simple majority.