Maryam Nawaz, the chief organiser of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has filed nomination papers for four constituencies in Punjab ahead of the April 30 polls. The constituencies include three in Lahore and one in Gujranwala. Maryam Nawaz, who is against the elections in two provinces without ensuring accountability of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, appears to be cautious in the selection of the constituencies. Two of the four seats were previously held by her party, and the other two were held by PTI. The Pakistan Peoples Party, an ally of PML-N in the Centre, has fielded candidates in most of the constituencies in Punjab.
The decision to contest four Punjab Assembly seats shows the “low confidence” of PML-N and its de-facto head in the country in the face of rising popularity of Imran Khan due to crushing inflation. Maryam Nawaz needs to win at least one of the four seats to reach the Punjab Assembly if the elections are held. The PML-N insiders claim that the party cannot take its chances on its number one horse.
Interestingly, no big guns of the PTI will be up against Maryam Nawaz on any of the four seats if the elections are held as per schedule. While the PTI’s winners of two of the constituencies have filed papers, more than one candidate from the PTI have filed papers against most of the seats in Punjab apparently in anticipation of challenges the party is facing these days.
Meanwhile, the PPP’s candidates have also filed nomination papers for all four seats Ms Nawaz is contesting. The PPP’s Omar Sharif Bokhari, Amjad Ali Jutt, and Shahid Abbas Kazmi are vying for PP-158, PP-173, and PP-149, respectively.
Maryam’s younger cousin, Hamza Shehbaz, has also filed nomination papers for three constituencies of Lahore. As their demand for the accountability of Imran Khan seems closer to materialising, Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz seem comfortable to wade into the arena of electoral politics from Lahore.