News Analysis |
Maryam Nawaz, daughter of the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has finally decided to contest the upcoming general elections from Lahore. She has obtained the nomination papers from the court of returning officer (RO) Asif Bashir on Wednesday.
She is going to contest the elections from her party’s traditionally dominant National Assembly constituency in Lahore — NA-125.
Moreover, the NA-125 constituency was NA-120 prior to delimitation ─ the same constituency where her father, Nawaz Sharif, contested and won in the 2013 election. Since Nawaz Sharif was disqualified in Panama Papers Case and a by-election was held where Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of disqualified Nawaz, won the seat in the by-poll last year.
Kulsoom Nawaz has been battling cancer since long. She left for London before her election and also could not take oath as a lawmaker. Kulsoom is under treatment and her condition is better now according to Maryam Nawaz.
Reference against Maryam Nawaz:
Interestingly, the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar were indicted in the Avenfield properties case on October 12, 2017.
Moreover, the NAB has filed total three references against the Sharif family and one against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.
Maryam and her husband Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference.
Maryam always denies all the allegations against the Sharif family and blames the political opponents for pushing Nawaz and his family into troubled waters.
Maryam Nawaz: a story of a housewife?
Nawaz’s talk presented his daughter as a common Pakistani housewife who has nothing to do with business or politics.“What could be worse than dragging her into court out of revenge and spite,” he angrily questioned. Nawaz also alleged that the family members who have ‘no connection’ to governmental affairs are being dragged through court. “In this ruthless game, you are even involving our daughters,” Nawaz said in a slightly emotional tone last month in May. Similarly last month, Andleeb Abbas, in a letter, to the PM’s office demanded an explanation for the role of Maryam Nawaz in the government.
In what capacity does Maryam Nawaz meet foreign ambassadors/dignitaries when she does not hold any official position? All her meetings are arranged in Prime Minister House. This is misuse of taxpayer’s money as just the entertainment/refreshment expense of PM house is Rs10 million?
Maryam claims to be a proud daughter of Nawaz Sharif and has expressed many times that she would stand by her father under any circumstances. “More than 70 times, I appeared before this court and still this is going on. I know why I am being kept away from my mother who is suffering from the fatal disease of cancer and I also know that in 70 years history of Pakistan no woman ever appeared before the court that much times. My only crime is that I am daughter of Nawaz Sharif, but just like brave and proud daughters of Pakistan, I am standing firm with my father. I am standing with his narrative. To put my father’s love for me to a test, the perpetrators have involved me in this case,” she said.
Maryam Nawaz and the future of PML-N:
It is interesting to see how will Shehbaz manage the PML-N and groupings within the party now. Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, a senior PML-N member and former Interior Minister, has clarified many times that it was not possible for him to work under ‘children’, implying Maryam Nawaz. He was the person who openly opposed Nawaz’s policy of confrontation and anti-establishment rhetoric. The question is what will be the role of Maryam Nawaz if she manages to win the election? Who will determine her role and responsibilities? Will she be given a high post in the party? Will Nisar Ali Khan then remain a part of the PML-N?
Furthermore, what will be the state of politics within the Sharif family? Will Hamza Shehbaz accept Maryam Nawaz as his boss? Who will be the in-charge; Maryam or Hamza, when the latter’s father is the president of the party.
Maryam’s decision to formally join politics will significantly impact the composition and functioning of the PML-N. Only the time will tell what ultimately the party gains or loses.