Nawaz refrains Hamza from campaigning for Kulsoom

Lahore [Pakistan]: Differences have emerged in Nawaz Sharif’s extended family as the founder of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has refrained his nephew Hamza Shahbaz to participate in the campaigning process of NA-120 by-elections, from where his wife Kulsoom Nawaz will contest after his disqualification in the Panamagate case.

The disqualified premier has called his brother Shahbaz Sharif, nephew Hamza Shehbaz and close aide Pervez Malik for a meeting at his residence of Jati Umra, reported the Dawn.

In the meeting, he handed the responsibilities of the campaigning to Pervez Malik, who suggested that Hamza Shahbaz can perform the duties better than him. However, the PML-N founder rejected his suggestion.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that Hamza could not oversee the election campaign due to security threats. Therefore, the party had asked Minister Pervaiz Malik to oversee the election campaign in NA-120.

Another party official, however, said Malik had been appointed in charge of the NA-120 election campaign because he was the president of the PML-N’s Lahore chapter.

Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan (MNA), Hamza Shahbaz’s departure from the country right before the by-election in NA-120 provides an ample indication of a falling-out in the family, considering that he has been the main strategist and supervisor for all by-elections contested by the PML-N in Punjab so far.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) had filed separate letters of objection with the returning officer, challenging the nomination submitted by Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, for National Assembly-120 seat.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has also accused the ruling party of violating the election code of conduct and threatened a nationwide protest if their demand for electoral reforms was not met.

Interestingly enough, both Hamza and Malik are Members of the National Assembly of Pakistan. Hamza has already been served notices by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for violating such a code in earlier by-polls held in Jhelum, Vehari and Multan.

They pleaded that after the Panama Papers verdict of the Supreme Court, it was necessary for Nawaz to disclose her salary as an asset.

The opposition parties’ candidates also pointed out discrepancies in 2015-16 statements of wealth tax submitted by Kulsoom Nawaz and asked the returning officer to reject the nomination papers of Nawaz for violating provisions of Representation of Peoples Act 1976.

Meanwhile, the returning officer has written a letter to the (ECP) secretary for deployment of the army personnel on the polling day in NA-120.

The high command of the ECP on Tuesday reviewed arrangements for the all-important by-poll to National Assembly constituency NA-120, Lahore-III.

Chaired by Director-General (Admin & Monitoring) retired Brig Naeem Akbar Qazi, the gathering was told that 65 candidates had filed their papers for the electoral contest scheduled to be held on September 17.

At least 220 polling stations and 568 polling booths will be established for 321,633 registered voters though final polling scheme will be issued 15 days before the polling day when law-enforcement agencies will be given the task to ensure security of the polling station.(ANI)