LAHORE: PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz in an interesting development was issued ‘pencil’ as her election symbol for NA-125 after she failed to withdraw her nomination papers for the constituency as she is now contesting July 25 election from NA-127 and PP-173 (Lahore) with the party’s ‘lion’ symbol.

The returning officers allotted Maryam Nawaz ‘lion’ symbol as a PML-N nominee for both NA-127 and PP-173, while she was issued ‘pencil’ as her symbol in NA-125.

Tanvir Zia Butt, a representative of Maryam, told reporters that she couldn’t withdraw her nomination papers for NA-125 on time as it required her signs on the papers and verification from the embassy.

“As this formality couldn’t be met on time, therefore she (Maryam) has been allotted ‘pencil’ as her symbol for NA-125,” he said.

Mr Butt, however, said Ms Maryam would retire from the election in NA-125 so that her name and election symbol were not published on the ballot papers.

Maryam Nawaz said in a tweet: “There is a confusion here. I think my papers are not withdrawn on time. I am not contesting from NA-125. I am submitting a formal request for withdrawal of my papers from NA-125.”

Maryam had changed her decision to contest from NA-125 at the eleventh hour primarily because it was not considered a ‘safe bet’ for her in the current situation.

After her refusal, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif has awarded NA-125 ticket to Waheed Alam Khan, moving him from his original constituency – NA-133.

PML-N Lahore president has been accommodated in NA-133 to replace Waheed Alam Khan.

“The prime reason for the sudden change of her mind is that Maryam Bibi is not in a position to run a campaign in NA-125 which she thinks is a constituency she may not win while being in London. It is not possible for her to return immediately, leaving her ailing mother unattended,” a PML-N insider said.

Talking about her and her father Nawaz Sharif’s return to the country, Maryam said it was subject to improvement in the health of her mother Begum Kulsoom.

“Our return to the country depends upon my mother’s condition. When her health condition improves we will return to Pakistan,” she said.

Begum Kulsoom was shifted to hospital after she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest on June 14. Since then she has been on ventilator.

In August, Begum Kulsoom was diagnosed with lymphoma (throat) cancer. She had undergone a surgery, and several sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Initially, she responded to the treatment well but of late her condition has deteriorated.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2018