LAHORE, April 16: A Pakistan People’s Party ticket-holder from the provincial metropolis defected to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on Tuesday.

Col (retired) Rana M Tariq, PPP nominee for Punjab Assembly constituency PP-161, called on Shahbaz Sharif here and assured the PML-N provincial president of his complete support in the electoral bout.

The former chief minister is the Nawaz League hopeful from the seat this time.

Tariq also announced surrendering his PPP ticket.

He had lost to PML-N’s Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor in the 2008 polls with a margin of less than four thousand votes.

Abdur Rasheed Bhatti, a Tehrik-i-Insaf leader who is contesting as an independent candidate after refusal of ticket by his party, has been seeking support of the PPP in the constituency.

As a PML-Q nominee, Bhatti had secured over 16,000 votes and stood third in the previous polls. He was being urged by the PPP to go for NA-128, arguing that it already had a strong contestant for PP-161 in the form of Tariq.

Earlier, ex-MPA Ghulam Habib Awan had joined the PML-N. Awan was one of the two PPP candidates who had won from Lahore in the 2008 elections.

The PPP is facing a dearth of candidates in the Punjab capital. Apparently, finding no hope to win against the Sharifs in their stronghold in Lahore, many leaders have declined to contest this time. They included Aslam Gill, Zakariya Butt, Omar Sharif Bukhari, Qasim Zia and Prof Ijazul Hasan.

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