LAHORE: The daughter of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, who is running the campaign of her mother Kulsoom Nawaz, the PML-N nominee for the by-poll in NA-120, has asked the women party workers to accelerate their efforts for victory.

Speaking at a meeting attended by the women workers at Model Town here on Monday, Maryam asked them to have coordination among themselves and contact the women voters in the constituency.

She said that she wanted the party workers to work hard in the constituency for the victory of Begum Kulsoon Nawaz. She said she would also go door-to-door for the election campaign.

A couple of women workers dared to complained that they were not given importance in the by-poll campaign and not called in the meetings chaired by the party’s top leadership. They deplored that even their “petty issues” were not redressed.

“On our complaints, Ms Maryam told us that she would ensure no discrimination is meted out against us and we are given due respect in the party,” a woman worker told Dawn after the meeting.

On the other hand, despite notices from the Election Commission, PML-N ministers Pervaiz Malik and Bilal Yasin and MPA Majid Zahoor were attending the meetings chaired by Maryam and also running the party’s election campaign in NA-120 along with her.

The ECP has already issued notices to Pervaiz Malik, Bilal Yasin, Majid Zahoor and retired Capt Safdar (husband of Ms Maryam).

The PML-N ministers and MPAs are accused of using state machinery and violating the ECP’s code of conduct while campaigning for Kulsoom Nawaz who is getting treatment in London for lymphoma.

Opposition PPP and PTI candidates, Faisal Mir and Yasmin Rashid, respectively, in their complaints contended that federal and provincial ministers and PML-N MPAs were not allowed to participate in any election campaign or visit the constituency under the ECP’s code of conduct and Section 103-A of the Representation of People’s Act 1976. However, the legislators had been regularly visiting the constituency and using the state machinery to run Begum Kulsoom’s campaign, they alleged.

The ECP was requested to take action against the ministers for violating the ECP’s code of conduct and to restrain them from visiting the constituency again.

Talking to Dawn, Majid Zahoor said he and Bilal Yasin had submitted a reply to the ECP notice. “I am an elected member of the provincial assembly from the constituency that falls in NA-120. It is my lawful right to visit my constituency and meet my voters,” he said, adding that as far as the development work in the constituency was concerned, the tenders of projects were approved five months ago. “The government has not initiated any development work after announcement of by-election in NA-120,” Mr Zahoor claimed.

Meanwhile, more PML-N ministers are joining the NA-120 campaign. On Monday State Minister Anusha Rehman attended the women workers’ meeting chaired by Maryam Nawaz.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2017

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