Provisional results by the country’s top electoral authority have shown that a large number of independent candidates have been elected from national and provincial assembly seats.
Many people think that all of them are backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, founded by Imran Khan.
However, this is not the case. Not every independent candidate is backed by the PTI.
The perception started building up when the party decided to field independent candidates after the Supreme Court stripped the PTI of its iconic bat symbol.
Before the elections, PTI issued a list of independent candidates supported by it. It released different versions of the list as decisions changed in the run-up to polls.
As many as 100 independent candidates have so far been elected on the NA seats, according to the ECP list.
A comparison of the ECP-issued results with the PTI’s list shows that 92 candidates out of the total are supported by the party — the remaining 8 have no link to Khan’s party.
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Raja Khurram Shehzad and Aqeel Malik from NA-48 and NA-54 in the twin cities two of the 8 really independent candidates.
Reports said that Shehzad is linked to Jahangir Tareen’s Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party.
Malik defeated Chaudhry Nisar and Ghulam Sarwar combined in NA-48. He was reportedly denied a PMLN ticket.
However, in both constituencies, IPP and the PML-N did not field any candidates, so Shehzad and Malik had fewer odds to fight against.
Other six independent candidates who are not linked to PTI include:
- Rashid Akbar Khan from NA-92 in Bhakkar
- Amir Ali Lali from NA-93 in Chiniot
- Raza Hayat Hiraj from NA-144 in Khanewal
- Pir Zahoor Hussain from NA-146 in Khanewal
- Ayesha Nazeer Jutt from NA-156 in Vehari
- Shamsher Ali Mazari from NA-189 in Rajanpur
The PPP is also engaged with the independent candidates. It was confirmed by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday when the election results were coming late.
“Results are incredibly slow coming in. However, initial results are very encouraging ! PPP candidates and independents whom we have supported/ engaged with seem to be doing well! Let’s see what the final tally is in the end…,” he said on February 8.