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LAHORE: Candidates of all three major political parties, the ruling PML-N and opposition PTI and PPP, have submitted their nominations with the Election Commission for all important by-poll in NA-120.

The seat fell vacant after the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif, who had been elected from here in the 2013 general election.

The PML-N has fielded ousted prime minister’s wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, whose papers were filed by her son-in-law retired Capt Safdar and Senator Asif Kirmani on Friday.

The main opposition party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, has also pitched a woman candidate, Dr Yasmin Rashid, while PPP has selected its former Lahore chapter information secretary Faisal Mir.

The PPP-Workers faction has also pitched a woman, ex-MPA Sajida Mir.

It will be interesting to see a contest between two women candidates of the arch rival parties.

Though Begum Kulsoom had successfully led a party movement for the release of her husband incarcerated after a military coup by Gen Musharraf in 1999, she has never taken part in any electoral bout at any level so far.

As PML-N took time to decide on her candidacy, no banners, pana-flexes, posters or pamphlets as part of her electioneering has so far appeared in the constituency.

Whereas Dr Rashid had contested in the 2013 election from the same constituency, considered a stronghold of the Sharifs as the family has never lost any election from here since 1985, against Nawaz and had given him a tough time by securing 50,000 plus votes against his tally of 94,000 plus. Experienced in professional politics of the medical community, she and her party are continuously running election campaign through corner meetings and door-to-door contacts for the last over a week.

PPP nominee Faisal Mir has earlier contested in 2013 polls from PP-154 but lost. Son of known scholar late Waris Mir, he remained active in student politics. After entering professional life, he served as founder convener of the Pakistan Industrial and Traders Association Front, formed to break the monopoly of large businesses in the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Sajida Mir, a diehard activist of the PPP until she joined the PPP-Workers led by Naheed Khan, remained Punjab Assembly member during 2008-13 on a reserved seat for women.

Meanwhile, Nawab Amber Shehzada, president of his one-man party, App Janaab Sarkaar Party, has also submitted his nomination for the seat.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2017

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