LAHORE: Unlike his elder brother’s past practice to culminate his party’s election campaign in Lahore, Shahbaz Sharif chose D.G Khan for the final show urging the people to ‘free’ Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam from jail through the power of their vote on July 25.

In the past PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif would end his party’s election campaign in Lahore. In the 2013 election, Nawaz held a rally in Samanabad to end the campaign on the note that Lahorites’ verdict was the verdict of Pakistan. PML-N had bagged 12 of 13 National Assembly seats from Lahore in the 2013 polls.

Interestingly, throughout the party campaign Shahbaz Sharif did not hold a public meeting in the provincial capital. During a campaign in [his] NA-132 and a couple of other constituencies he preferred to address only corner meetings. There was not a single public meeting he held in Lahore like he did in Multan, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Swat and etc. On the last day (Monday) of the campaign, PML-N president’s son Hamza Shahbaz held a public meeting at Mochi Gate.

Nawaz used to end electioneering in Lahore

“Either Shahbaz Sharif was over confident to win Lahore or he wanted to reach out to other districts to invigorate the party’s candidates campaign there,” a PML insider said. “Keeping its past tradition alive, most of the Lahore PML-N candidates had requested Shahbaz Sharif to conclude the campaign here with a ‘big show’ but he did not oblige them,” he said and added that since PML-N considered Lahore its stronghold the party candidates here believed that it was a good chance to outmatch Imran Khan who was also in the city to conclude his party’s campaign.

Muhammad Mehdi, a PML-N leader from Punjab, defended Shahbaz’s decision. “Shahbaz Sharif had already visited several constituencies in the city and also held a rally on July 13 (to receive Nawaz and Maryam) that was enough for the campaign here.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2018