Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-supported independent candidate Waseem Qadir, victorious in the February 8 elections from Lahore’s National Assembly NA-121 constituency, has declared his allegiance to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). In a video statement released by the PML-N, Qadir is seen alongside party leaders, including Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz, expressing his return to the PML-N fold. The loss of the NA-121 seat, which Qadir secured by defeating PML-N’s Sheikh Rohail Asgher with a margin exceeding 8,000 votes, poses a significant setback for PTI. Both the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have signaled their intent to court independent candidates to bolster their bid for power. Identifying himself as the former PTI Lahore secretary-general, Waseem Qadir announced his return “home” in the video, citing his affiliation with the PML-N for the development of his constituency and people. Nawaz’s party, securing 79 seats in Thursday’s vote, stands as the second-largest party, lacking a clear majority but holding the position of the largest single party in parliament due to the presence of independently-run candidates backed by Imran Khan. Post-election, both PTI and PML-N have claimed victory, contributing to the prevailing uncertainty in the country grappling with pressing challenges, such as negotiating a new International Monetary Fund program to stabilize a struggling economy. Determining the prime ministerial candidate requires showcasing a simple majority of 169 seats in the National Assembly in the upcoming days. This hinges on coalition talks and the potential alignment of Khan-supported candidates with a smaller party in parliament to form a unified bloc and secure reserve seats. During the election campaign, Waseem Qadir sought votes as the representative of the imprisoned Khan. While PTI had cautioned about the possibility of independents switching loyalties, the party expressed hope that such defections would not materialize.