Pakistan’s ruling party may field ousted premier Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom or his daughter Maryam from the seat that fell vacant after he was disqualified from holding office, a senior party leader said today. Sharif stepped down on July 28 after the Supreme Court disqualified him for not disclosing his assets. After the verdict, Sharif ceased to be a member of parliament.
Initially, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had decided that Sharif’s younger brother Shehbaz Sharif would contest election from NA-120 in Lahore, vacated by Sharif, so that he could be appointed as prime minister. But now it has been decided to let him continue as chief minister of Punjab to complete different developmental schemes.
The PML-N leader, on condition of anonymity, said that the party has a lot of respect for Kulsoom as she is the symbol of courage for many party members who remember the time when she led the party after Sharif was imprisoned by former military dictator Pervez Musharraf following the 1999 coup. “Begum sahiba (Kulsoom) is the natural choice to contest the polls on the seat vacated by Nawaz Sharif,” he said.
Maryam is the second choice and would be acceptable to the party as her father was grooming her for a role in politics. He said that the final decision would be taken by Sharif in coming days.
The PML-N main rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has already announced the name of Yasmin Rashid for the seat. Sharif had defeated Rashid with a huge margin in 2013.