In another setback for the PML-Nawaz, seven of the party's ticket-holders from south Punjab on Saturday announced that they would be contesting as independent candidates.

Four of the seven candidates belong to the Rajanpur 'electables' group under former provincial deputy speaker Sher Ali Gorchani, who is a candidate for NA-193 and PP-293. Besides Sher Ali, his father Pervez Gorchani (PP-295), Ather Gorchani (PP-294) and Yousuf Khan Dareshak (PP-296) have returned their tickets to the party. Yousuf Khan's brother, Dr Hafeez Dareshak, has also returned his NA-194 PML-N ticket.

All lawmakers have now been allotted the 'jeep' symbol to contest the general elections as independent candidates.

Former PML-N MPA Atif Mazari and his nephew Khizar Mazari will continue to contest on the PML-N ticket from PP-297 and NA-195, respectively.

Sultan Mehmood Hanjra, PML-N ticket-holder from NA-181 (Muzaffargarh) also announced that he would contest as an independent candidate, requesting the 'jeep' symbol to be allotted to him. Hanjra is contesting against former Punjab governor Ghulam Mustufa Khar, who has Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) ticket.

Hanjra's nephews — Ahmed Yar (PP-279) and Qasim (PP-268) — will, however, continue to contest as PML-N candidates.

A similar situation was observed in Dera Ghazi Khan, where Shamoona Mir Badshah Qaisrani withdrew her PML-N ticket from PP-285 while Amjad Farooq Khosa also announced to contest as an independent candidate from NA-190.

Qaisrani was awarded the 'mobile phone' symbol for PP-285 but will contest the NA-189 election against PTI strongman Khawaja Sheraz on PML-N symbol since was not allowed to withdraw the ticket because the deadline for ticket allotment had ended by the time she submitted her request.

Meanwhile, Amjad Farooq was awarded the 'bucket' symbol and will contest against PTI's Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa.

Former federal minister Awais Leghari and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif are contesting on the remaining two National Assembly seats in the district.

Earlier, PML-N dissident and former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar was also allotted the 'jeep' symbol on his own request in all four constituencies of Rawalpindi district — NA-59, NA-63, PP-10 and PP-12 — that he is contesting from.

Additional reporting by Tahir Naseer.

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