NA-120 by-polls: Nawaz to run Kalsoom’s campaign

  • Former PM’s rally to turn into electioneering in Lahore

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will run his wife Kalsoom Nawaz’s election campaign in NA-120, Pakistan Today reliably learnt on Wednesday.

According to impeccable sources, the party workers and supporters will be asked in the rally and grand reception hosted for the former prime minister to take revenge of Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by electing Kalsoom Nawaz on the National Assembly seat.

The PML-N has not announced its candidate in the NA-120 elections and Nawaz Sharif would announce Begum Kalsoom Nawaz for the ticket. According to sources, Nawaz Sharif will also run campaign for his wife after the homecoming rally.

It has also been learnt that PML-N local leadership will also take oath from the party supporters present on the occasion to vote for only that candidate who is recommended by Nawaz Sharif. The rally will pass from areas which fall in the NA-120 and he will be asking votes for Kalsoom Nawaz.

Dr Yasmeen Rashid, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate for the NA-120 seat, has raised serious objection on Nawaz Sharif’s rally route and filed a petition with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against his the political activities.

Though Kalsoom Nawaz is novice to the political arena for the uninitiated and never ever contested elections, yet she had successfully launched the party’s movement for the release of her incarcerated husband Nawaz Sharif after a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999.

According to the PML-N leaders, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif will not contest a parliamentary by-election for the vacant seat. The name of Shehbaz Sharif has been apparently withdrawn after some senior party members raised apprehensions that pace of mega projects may be disturbed in the absence of Shehbaz since the party’s energies would also be diverted to his by-election.

Further, the PML-N may lose grip over Punjab in the general elections. Nawaz Sharif had earlier announced that his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif would succeed him as the prime minister after contesting from the NA-120 to become a National Assembly member. However, now Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will remain in charge until the next general elections due in mid-2018.

On the other hand, supporters and sympathisers have finalised preparations to accord Nawaz Sharif a warm welcome on his arrival in Lahore via GT Road. Eight points have been specified in Lahore where Nawaz Sharif will be given grand reception by the local leadership.

Almost all major roads and commercial markets in Lahore have been painted with the portraits of Nawaz Sharif. It is for the first time that such a widespread publicity had been made of the event. The PML-N supporters have displayed big pictures of Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz Sharif at every nook and corner of the city.

The security and traffic plan on the arrival has also been finalised. Police said that more than 3,000 policemen would be deployed on the route of Nawaz Sharif’s motorcade, while aerial vigilance will also be conducted. The police have also started taking containers in their possession to shut the routes leading toward the rally route.

Nawaz Sharif has started his journey to Lahore with a rally through the GT Road and held a meeting with Prime Minister Abbasi, Senator Ishaq Dar and other senior leaders before his departure. A large number of the party workers had also gathered outside the Punjab House to accompany their leader.

INP adds: Former first lady Begum Kalsoom Nawaz has said that she is ready to take part in the by-election of NA-120 if she is nominated as a candidate from the constituency, according to a local Urdu language daily.

The wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said that she had focused all her energies for this purpose. She said that she has a good relationship with the voters of her hometown and trusts that the people love her. It is important to mention here that the constituency fell vacant after Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif for being dishonest on not disclosing his job with Capital FZE in the nomination papers for the 2013 general election.

Replying to a question regarding the selection of the candidate, Kalsoom said that Nawaz Sharif would decide about it. The newspaper claimed that nomination papers of Kalsoom Nawaz and Maryam Nawaz have been prepared. The papers of the selected candidate will be filed with the Election Commission.

Earlier, reports about Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif being a strong candidate for the premiership were circulating in the media, but there was no official announcement in this regard. The PML-N is yet to decide about the candidate.

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