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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as chief of the ruling PML-N approved on Monday the award of party ticket to Kiran Dar for a reserved seat for women in the National Assembly.

Ms Dar, who has been a member of the Punjab Assembly, will replace in the National Assembly Ayesha Raza Farooq, who has been elected to the upper house of parliament in the recent elections.

Since PML-N has exhausted its list of candidates for reserved seats for women submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the party chief according to law could award the ticket to anybody. Other­wise, next in the list would have automatically been declared a member of the National Assembly by the ECP.

Earlier, Ms Dar was awarded the party ticket for the Senate elections from Punjab but at the eleventh hour she was replaced with Ms Farooq.

Ms Dar appeared on the political scene after 2008 elections when the party according to a PML-N office bearer won more than expected seats in the Punjab Assembly and she was picked as a late entry into the list of MPAs to be elected on reserved seats. In 2013, she was the first choice to be made an MPA on one of the reserved seats.

“It is the party’s decision,” Ms Dar said when asked about her switching from the provincial legislature to the National Assembly.

She clarified that she was not a direct relative of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. “Yes, we both belong to the Kashmiri clan but he is not my immediate relative.”

Born in Lahore, Ms Dar has roots in Azad Kashmir where her grandfather Sardar Mohammad Alam took part in politics.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2015

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