LAHORE: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is all set to conduct the NA-120 by-polls on Sunday. At least 44 candidates are contesting for the seat which fell vacant after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif in Panama Papers case. Among the final 44 candidates, 11 of them belong to different political parties and the rest are independent.
Beside small parties and independent candidates, mainstream political parties, including ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Jamaat-e-Islami, have fielded their candidates for the by-polls. However, a tough contest is expected between PML-N’s Kalsoom Nawaz and PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid.
The candidate of ruling party Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, a three-time first lady of Pakistan jumped into politics after the detention of his husband and former premier Nawaz Sharif during his detention in Musharaf regime in 1999. She successfully led the movement for the release of Nawaz Sharif. However, she never took part in the electoral process or obtained any office of the party.
Kalsoom is the wife of the former prime minister and a granddaughter of great wrestler of sub-continent Gama Pehlwan. Being the old Lahoriite, she has great respect among the natives.
Dr Yasmin Rashid
Another major contesting party, PTI, has also fielded Dr Yasmin Rashid who also contested from the same constituency against ousted premier Nawaz Sharif. She secured more than 52321 votes against Nawaz Sharif’s 91666 votes. Being a professional doctor, she had been active in the professional politics of the medical community while she also served as the president of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA). Yasmeen is an acclaimed gynecologist and currently working as the Professor of the Obstetrics & Gynaecology Department.
Yasmin also belongs to a political family formerly associated with the PPP. Her father-in-law Malik Ghulam Nabi was a close aide of former PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and also served as MPA during his tenure.
Faisal Mir, the PPP candidate, is a son of renowned scholar Waris Mir and brother of journalists Hamid Mir and Amir Mir. He had earlier contested in 2013 polls from PP-154 but lost.
Mir, who remained active in student politics, also served as founder convener of the Pakistan Industrial and Traders Association Front which was formed to break the monopoly of large businesses in the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Interestingly the contesting candidates of all three major parties would not cast their vote as their votes are not registered in this constituency. Kalsoom Nawaz’s vote is registered in NA-119, Yasmin Rashid’s in NA-128 while Faisal Mir’s vote is registered in NA-127.