Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz has suggested that she might run for prime minister in 2018 general elections, subject to a decision in this regard by her family.
In an interview with The New York Times, Maryam stated that people in her social circle see her in a position of leadership.
“People around me tell me I was meant for a certain role,” she said in response to whether she ever sees herself as the future leader of the country.
Examine: The Maryam Nawaz factor
Maryam, who is celebrating her 44th birthday on Saturday (today), tweeted that a statement that the Sharif family has decided that she should lead her family's ruling PML-N was wrongly attributed to her.
She said Nawaz Sharif will continue to lead the PML-N and that she is "not even an aspirant" for the position and would rather serve as a party worker.
Shahbaz Sharif is 'my hero'
In the NYT interview, Maryam insisted that reports of differences within her family were exaggerated.
“It’s not a divided house,” she said referring to her family, adding that that family takes pride in family values and ethos.
Maryam appeared vehemently positive about the idea of her uncle, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, possibly becoming the next prime minister, saying: “He’s the most competent person. He’s my hero. I love him to death.”
Earlier this month, the Sharif family scions — Maryam and Hamza Shahbaz — had sat face to face for the first time since the Panama Papers case rocked the country’s political landscape and led to the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.
Shahbaz had ‘mediated’ between the ‘rival’ cousins during the meeting, which came amid rumours of infighting in the family.
Maryam also opened up about her lifestyle in the interview, saying she now has time to focus on her work, thanks to her marriage at an early age.
"I gave all my time to my kids when they were growing up," she told NYT. "Now, I am independent. I have more time for myself, for my work. I could not be doing all this today if I still had small children."
Commenting on her proclivity towards owning designer handbags and lavish jewellery, Maryam said: “I’m a woman, I’m human.”
Maryam told the NYT her grandfather first saw in her the potential to be a political worker and assigned her important roles in the family's operations. Her father Sharif, too, later started to recognise her skills.
She said she is now able to convey advice and criticism to her father, who sometimes changes his mind accordingly.
'Been there, done that'
Maryam reiterated her family's oft-repeated refrain that the corruption cases instituted against them in the accountability court are "politically motivated". She suggested that the cases have had no negative impact on her party's reputation.
“People remain undeterred, and support for the Pakistan Muslim League has further galvanized.”
Recounting the military coup that toppled her father's second government and her days in exile in Saudi Arabia, Maryam said she remains "undeterred" by her family's political and legal challenges.
“Prisons, disqualifications, sham trials, house arrests, court cases — been there, done that,” she said.