GUJRAT: PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz, who also heads the opposition benches in the Punjab Assembly, on Sunday paid a visit to the residence of the party’s candidate for NA-75, Daska, Nosheen Iftikhar to condole the death of her father and ex-MNA Syed Iftikharul Hasan.

During the visit, Mr Hamza was flanked by Khwaja Saad Rafique. The both PML-N leaders were behind the bars when the MNA died, vacating the constituency that later witnessed a controversial Feb 19 by-poll.

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has already announced re-poll in the constituency on April 10 after the Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected the PTI candidate Ali Asjad Malhi’s petition seeking re-poll only at 20 polling stations.

Anticipating Hamza’s arrival at Ms Iftikhar’s house, the PML-N’s local supporters gathered at Alu Mahaar Sharif village near Daska, where a police contingent was already present to “enforce Covid standard operating procedures (SOPs)”.

Hamza calls on Nosheen to condole her father’s death

However, Mr Hamza kept the visit formal and did not use it for any political activity.

Local sources say the both parties have worked out their respective plans to mobilise their voters by holding small corner meetings within the next four days, given the Covid threat.

The local authorities have also told the candidates to ensure the SOPs while running their campaigns and avoid organising big gatherings.

Sources said Mr Hamza Shahbaz also discussed the matters related to the re-poll with Ms Iftikhar and lauded her role in the struggle for a free and fair election in the constituency.

On the occasion, Ms Iftikhar expressed her hope that the voters would come to the polling stations on April 10 to exercise their right to vote in a peaceful atmosphere, for which she had struggled hard.

She said that she had planned small corner meetings, ensuring SOPs, during her campaign because of the virus’ threat.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2021

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