Pakistan by-election: Sharif family contests Lahore seat

17 Septembre, 2017, 22:11 | Author: Claudine Rigal
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There were 44 candidates in the run for the seat but the real contest was evidently between PTI's Dr Yasmeen Rashid and PML-N's Kulsoom Nawaz.

Maryam is handling the Lahore election campaign while her mother and PML-N candidate for the by-poll, Kulsoom Nawaz, undergoes treatment for throat cancer in London.

In the 2013 election in the constituency, the PML-N received a majority of almost 40,000 votes ahead of their closest rivals from the PTI party, led by Imran Khan.

"Nawaz Sharif called me before arriving here and asked me to thank people of the constituency", she added.

Maryam defended her father in an interview with a private television and said that Dawn Leaks report should be made public and that it was a non-issue.

"It's very hard for them to take this from us", said Sohail Butt, 48, a PML-N voter in the Mozang area of the city.

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Yaqub has little chance of success given that Kulsoom Nawaz, Sharif's wife, is expected to easily win Sunday's vote.

Polls predict a PML-N victory again now, but it's not clear whether their margin will increase or decrease.

PML-N veterans loyal to Shahbaz had privately said that it was just impossible that elder Sharif would bring his younger brother as PM. Fewer votes for the PML-N would allow political opponents to claim that even on the Sharif family's home turf the corruption allegations are having an effect. Buntings and posters of Sharif and his family have flooded the area. Voters in the NA 120 constituency are familiar with her and are keen that she returned to Pakistan ahead of polling day on Sunday.

The election is being contested by all the major parties as well as two new Islamist opposition parties. National Assembly Precinct 120 is a bellwether district of 330,000 voters who have been considered among the Muslim League's most loyal and reliable supporters for a generation. They are now in London and will return once the election is over.

Sheikh Yaqoob, a candidate from the Milli Muslim League, a new political party backed by Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ut-Dawa (JuD), is also standing. "Everyone in the US said it would be her victory, and they all proved wrong".

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