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Musharraf meets Begum Saira Bano, the APML candidate for NA-120. – Photo courtesy Facebook

In a bid to break Mian Nawaz Sharif’s vote bank, former military dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf has fielded a woman candidate to run in the elections against him from Lahore.

Begum Saira Bano will be contesting against the PML-N chief from his Lahore constituency of NA-120.

The lady candidate is no ordinary woman but is the grand-daughter of famous subcontinent wrestler Gama Pehlwan, daughter of Bhola Pehlwan and wife of Jhara Pehlwan. Belonging to a dynasty of famous wrestlers, Bano is set to give Sharif a good run for his money in the May 11 polls.

On top of that, Bano is also the cousin of the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) chief’s wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, also a grand daughter of Gama Pehlwan.

Sharif, through his nephew Hamza Shahbaz, had submitted his nomination papers to contest the polls from the said constituency last week.

Kushti (mud-wrestling) culture is fading away from Lahore, like from all other areas where it was considered the most popular sport. However, the three famous Pehlwans, mentioned above, have left such cherished memories in the minds of Lahoris, that having an affiliation with them would mean some moral support to say the least.

How much of this support will translate into votes is still to be seen. Nevertheless, it will be a good show adding more colour to the already much talked about general elections.

Imran Kazmi is a journalist working for

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1

Comments (67) Closed

sraz45 Apr 03, 2013 07:46pm
Musharaf has the least chance of getting a single seat in the next election. His exit from Pakistan was a wrong political move, people do not trust him. Nawaz Sharif is a low level political, arrogant ill mannered.He should not be ever reelected. Leaves Imran Khan he is the man of the present, he has honed himself in the past 16 years, think of him and a new direction for Pakistan with its youth as the center piece.
Asif Kashmiri Apr 03, 2013 07:48pm
Malik Apr 03, 2013 07:56pm
Can she write her name? Yes? Great, she can be a politician!
Muhammad Farooq Apr 03, 2013 08:06pm
wow, we are in for some fun now :)
Sean Apr 03, 2013 08:16pm
When Nawaz loses at least he'll have an excuse that he lost to a Pehlwan!! lol
Mashman Apr 03, 2013 08:16pm
Let the games begin
PakFan Apr 03, 2013 08:20pm
Pehelwaan Pakistan ki Assemblies mai raj kar rehay hain or qoom ko dooron par nacha rehay hain - no wonder Pakistan ka ye hal hai.
Nouman Apr 03, 2013 08:31pm
Nawaz and Musharraf have another opponent in the constituency named PTI. I think Musharraf should not waste his famous candidates in contesting against readily heated seats, he rather should try to grab seats by putting his team at places where others have weak runnings.
excalibur Apr 03, 2013 09:02pm
The picture says all about the sinister agenda of the so called lifafa journalist
marghoob ahmed siddiqui Apr 03, 2013 09:06pm
I wish and pray GOD that he is defeated by her. It will be a day of pride and joy for nation.
jd shami Apr 03, 2013 09:41pm
This no good commando-dictator is still roaming in Pakistan, very strange, someone should get him.
Mustafa Apr 03, 2013 09:44pm
Can the commando himself contest election against Nawaz Shareef without his uniform? This will give Mush an idea of how people 'love' him.
rashid Apr 03, 2013 10:08pm
former president not former military dictator whats wrong with dawn?.. once a president always a president.
NA-32 Apr 03, 2013 10:21pm
Dear Brother, There are some decent & loyal people living in a place called CHITRAL,Insha Allah from NA-32 Pervez Musharraf will win the National Assembly seat.We the people of Chitral have not forgot the time when Pakistan was on a progress..
Fazal Karim Apr 03, 2013 10:46pm
Musharraf saheb should have restored true democracy in 2007 when his popularity was at peak and there after should have formed a new secular political party. I am shure he had good chance of winning in 2008 election. He has all the qualities of leadership. although late but he can come back to lead the country through democratically elected government but in the next general election. Until then he will have to strugle hard and will have to go through tortures. Ultimately people of Pakistan will realise his leadership qualities. For countries sake he will have to choose path which was adopted by our earlier freedom fighters.
Omer Apr 03, 2013 11:03pm
can nawaz do the same in his home town karachi
Pakistani Apr 03, 2013 11:30pm
Nawaz pehlwan or Musharaf Pehlwan is not to blame. People just love them & they are ready to vote them again. No wonder why we don't have electricity at night & a decent job in the day.
jd shami Apr 03, 2013 11:40pm
Keep wishing, nothing wrong with it. Ur prayers will also be useless, pray for u and ur family.
asim Apr 03, 2013 11:46pm
You can not change the color. He was a dictator and never been an elected president. don't try to twist the facts and history. Still that generation is alive who has witnessed the breaking through dark night.
asim Apr 03, 2013 11:48pm
It is not required. Thumb print is enough.
Cyrus Howell Apr 03, 2013 11:49pm
Nawaz Sharif would be a better politician if he would learn how to smile.
Mashooq Ali, Chitral, Pakistan Apr 03, 2013 11:58pm
Musharraf is a dignified person and forced foreign countries to respect Pakistan not like Nawaz Sharif Paggarh wala and criminal and killer of Benazir corrupt Asif Zardai.When we compare Musharraf with our filthy political leaders, we are comparing grape versus watermelon. Leave them apart.
Nasr Apr 04, 2013 12:07am
Insha Allah. We will get rid of the already tested (N) Sharif and his Group
Nasr Apr 04, 2013 12:09am
Start spreading the word. You are the well educated in sub urban area so spread the word.
Sarfaraz Shah Apr 04, 2013 12:25am
You are absolutely right, my dear brother from Chitral. Similarly, there are some loyal people living in Karachi. And Karachi is where President Musharraf will win NA-250, INSHALLAH! As for the other friends who have forgotten the excellent economic performance under President Musharraf's time, what can one say? If you have a non-functional memory, please review the difference between '99 and 2008 in KSE levels, forex reserve numbers, GDP growth, dollar-Rs. ratio or pretty much any other metric. Every law abiding Pakistani benefited from President Musharraf's time, when highways were built in Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh and KPK. When Islamabad was beautified with new roads, model villages, parks, new museums and much more. When we walked proudly as Pakistanis. When our President's visit to New York was covered in a positive way by all the major international channels and he was given respect. When we were not ashamed of having our brave President represent us and defend our stance in any international forum. When investments were flowing into Pakistan and there was a construction boom all over the country. It is only the fair, correct, loyal and dignified thing to remember all this. For those who are blind to the facts, I suppose the urdu saying, "Jis thaali mein khaya, us hee mein chaid?" fits very well.
Shahpur Apr 04, 2013 12:33am
I hope this election bring peace and hope for a better tomorrow.
Syed Ahmed Apr 04, 2013 12:35am
Let's see the results of the bout.
Malick Apr 04, 2013 12:38am
Bhutto sb k baad agar koi insan Pakistan k ander bhadur aour gharet mund hai to wo general Musharraf hai jo artical 6 aour phansi k phundey sey darta nahain, kum uz kum Nwaz sey bhadur hai jo bhag gyia thha.
Adnan Apr 04, 2013 12:41am
Rashid, Ever heard about cause and effect? General Musharraf seized power by dismissing an elected government. This is what a military dictator does, not a President. He later imposed himself as the President. Once a military dictator, always a military dictator:)
saminahmed Apr 04, 2013 01:03am
what a good choice! women should vote for her. she will enhance women's interest.
mystical Apr 04, 2013 01:48am
go get hm than why are u waiting than
Yang Apr 04, 2013 01:50am
Oh ballaly ballay.........pahtay chak didtey Mushy
Ibrahim Apr 04, 2013 02:08am
General (Retd) Musharraf, was Pakistan's most successful president, after President Ayub. He deserves another chance. The need of the hour, is an honorable leader, with nerves of steel.
JAVAID KHAN Apr 04, 2013 04:15am
Only a person with no VISION would vote for ZARDARI,MUSHARRAF or NAWAZ.Imran Khan is the automatic choice for all honest Pakistanis.
Shah Apr 04, 2013 04:19am
Mr NA-32. Wish I could give you a 1000 likes for that comment ;)
Shah Apr 04, 2013 04:21am
Would love to see him in power again. Really hope and pray he wins.
Catchapalooza Apr 04, 2013 06:09am
Oh I forgot to add... what have yours truly Zardari and Nawaz being doing all this time? Nothing but planning to rip off the country on every chance they get. There are only two honest leaders in the country at the moment, and those are PM and IK. Open your eyes now before it's too late for Pakistanis and Pakistan.
Pramod Apr 04, 2013 06:26am
Need good leaders, not their family reputation. Musharaf snatched away power and has the audacity to claim he did nothing wrong. Nawaz sharif is the only leader who can handle left wing to right wing ends of the population. As business man has the ability to think in economic terms too.
Naseem Apr 04, 2013 06:31am
A clever move by PM!
Umair Ahmad Apr 04, 2013 06:32am
I think Mush and Nawaz both are dictators and enemy to each other, equally bad to our nation. So no matter who wins
MBA Apr 04, 2013 06:58am
Unfortunately we do not have favorite Pehlwans in this Kushti. As a matter of fact, we don
Ayub Apr 04, 2013 07:07am
Let us be entertaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiined.
B Apr 04, 2013 07:10am
haha good one!!
Block Apr 04, 2013 08:58am
You deserve Zardari.
Julie C Apr 04, 2013 09:16am
Sorry but Musharraf's past and present tactics show that he is a megalomaniac; out of touch with reality.
Ijaz Apr 04, 2013 09:24am
Some people say, "Imran is an automatic choice" when compared to others. If this is the criteria then there are a lot of other choices as well, so let "You" and "Me" also contest :)
Iqbal Apr 04, 2013 09:44am
that elected government refused to allow his plane land... if you are stopping your own Army Chief from landing in his own country, are you an elected govt?
muhammad Apr 04, 2013 09:45am
Well said
muhammad Apr 04, 2013 09:50am
Parliament of that time accepted him as a President why you are so furious as regards the generation who saw his tenure are still remembering his achievements anybody who has simplest of sense can compare today's government and his rule, which was far better
muhammad Apr 04, 2013 09:55am
As soon as Musharraf landed in Pakistan why lion stopped roaring ?
ch Apr 04, 2013 10:04am
mushi is best for pakistan
muzammil ullah khan Apr 04, 2013 10:11am
very interesting indeed !!
S Bara Apr 04, 2013 12:56pm
Is there going to be some Kushti match?.
raika45 Apr 04, 2013 01:09pm
If I am not mistaken Gama Phalwan was a world renowned wrestler who was a world champion.? I am not talking of this present time "staged wrestling" mania you see on TV. I am talking of real wrestling.Can anyone give some insight on this great man?
gangadin Apr 04, 2013 03:23pm
Is she a wrestler too?
Edwardian Apr 04, 2013 07:16pm
What would happen to Atiqa Odhu?
ozman Apr 04, 2013 07:59pm
If you ask me?. Musharaf and Imran should find a common ground and form coallition. I know it is not posible but that would be the best think for the country. Togather they can do a great job.
ozman Apr 04, 2013 08:08pm
Musharaff is not perfact, but the country was in much better shape five years ago then now.
Adnan A Apr 05, 2013 01:11am
Then run in the one is stopping you.
Adnan A Apr 05, 2013 01:11am
Exactly right!
Sonia K Apr 05, 2013 05:33am
If sports were anything to account for- then the lady might stand a chance to gain from the line of names- but this might not just materialize- a 'fading' sport is not what PM wants to bet on- it must be the lady's own mettle!!!
M. Alvi Apr 05, 2013 06:35am
That is not a nice joke for a lady.
M. Alvi Apr 05, 2013 06:49am
Actually, he is the only one who is realistic about Pakistan.
Imran Malik Apr 05, 2013 09:53am
ok :)
shahid khan Apr 05, 2013 10:40am
Former dictator or former president
Razi Apr 05, 2013 02:45pm
pathanoo Apr 05, 2013 05:12pm
She would definitely be better than Nawaz Sharif in that she can not be that corrupt. And, I don't even know any thing about the lady. All I know is how corrupt and venal Nawaz Sharif is. One more thing, I don'r have a dog in this fight. All I wish is peace and Good Luck to Pakistani people who deserve lot better than people like Nawaz Sharif and Zardaris. SAD COMMENTARY ON THE FATE OF PAKISTAN.