Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidate Waseem Qadir, who won the general elections from the National Assembly's NA-121 constituency in Lahore, has joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
In a video statement produced by the Nawaz Sharif-led party, Qadir was shown among PML-N leaders, including Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz, stating that he is "back home."
The loss of the Lahore seat, which Qadir won by defeating PML-N's Sheikh Rohail Asgher by more than 8,000 votes, is a major setback for the PTI, as the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have already stated that they will seek the support of independent candidates to form government.
"I'm Waseem Qadir. I was the PTI's Lahore secretary-general. "I have returned to my home," said the ex-PTI leader, who is the first elected member to leave the party after the elections."For the development of my constituency and my people, I have joined the PML-N again," he added.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's party ranks second with 79 seats following Thursday's elections, missing a clear majority but being the largest single party in parliament due to PTI-backed independents running individually.
Following the election results, both the PTI and the PML-N declared victory, adding to the country's uncertainty as it faces a number of pressing difficulties, including negotiating a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program to keep a faltering economy running.
When the National Assembly is reconvened in the following days, a prime ministerial candidate must secure a simple majority of 169 parliamentarians. Coalition discussions will decide if Khan-backed candidates can create a single bloc with a smaller party in parliament to secure reserve seats.