The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday accepted the nomination papers of the PML-N's fielded candidate Kulsoom Nawaz, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's wife, for the NA-120 by-poll.
Earlier today, the nomination papers for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) candidate, Yasmin Rashid, were also given the go-ahead by the ECP. Andleeb Abbas has been fielded as PTI's covering candidate.
Kulsoom Nawaz, who was set to appear before the ECP for scrutiny of her nomination papers today, left on a flight to London from Lahore, ECP sources told DawnNews. Senator Asif Kirmani, a close aide of Nawaz Sharif, appeared in her stead before the ECP.
PTI's Rashid said earlier today that the party had submitted a list of reservations against Kulsoom's nomination as a contender for the NA-120 by-poll.
Kirmani, speaking to reporters following his appearance before the ECP, said that certain people had raised reservations against the nomination of Kulsoom Nawaz "without any evidence or supporting documents" to back their claims.
Following the development, PPP’s candidate Faisal Mir announced that the party has decided to file a petition against the acceptance of Kalsoom Nawaz's nomination papers for the NA-120 seat.
"We are not disheartened," said PPP's candidate for the NA-120 constituency. "The returning officer did what he could within his jurisdiction."
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry also echoed Mir, saying that his party wanted an end to dynastic politics. "We will challenge the nomination of Kalsoom Nawaz," he said.
The last date to file appeals challenging the acceptance or rejection of nomination papers in an election tribunal is Aug 21, after which complaints will be decided by Aug 24.
The last date for withdrawal of candidature is Aug 25, after which the list of final candidates will be published on Aug 26.
NA-120 fell vacant after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panamagate case on July 28 on charges of concealing his salary from a Dubai-based company, which he claims he had never received.
The constituency comprises Sanda, Shamnagar, Chauburji, Islamapura, Sanatnagar, Rajgarh, Riwaz Garden, Mozang, Lake Road, Lower Mall, New Anarkali, Lytton Road, Queens Road, Hall Road, Cooper Road, Mayo Hospital, Urdu Bazaar, Bilal Gunj, Ravi Colony, Kasurpura, Khokhar Town and Mominpura.
The PML-N has never lost an election in this constituency since 1985.
Nawaz Sharif was unable to contest elections from here in 2002 as he was in exile at that time.
In 2008, his nomination papers had been rejected by the then returning officer and he had to field a replacement.
In the 1985 non-party polls, Sharif had defeated Jamaat-i-Islami backed Syed Asad Gilani by securing twice the number of votes bagged by the latter. The PPP had boycotted the polls.
In 1988, from the platform of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), an alliance of anti-Bhutto parties, Sharif had defeated PPP’s Iqbal Bhatti with a margin of 13,000 votes.
As a nominee of the same alliance in 1990, he defeated Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, whose party (the Tehreek-i-Istiqlal) he had joined in 1978.
In 1993, he formed his own faction of the PML and defeated PPP’s Zia Bakht Butt with a lead of around 24,000 votes.
The winning margin increased to almost 40,000 when he defeated PPP’s Hafiz Ghulam Mohayuddin in the 1997 election when his party grabbed two-thirds majority in the NA.
In 2013, Yasmin Rashid had given Sharif a tough time by securing around 52,000 votes.