According to a report in The News, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has asked Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz to monitor the election campaign for the by-election in Daska for NA 75 seat that is scheduled to be held on April 10.
Sources said Hamza Shahbaz may not be able to show his physical presence in Daska as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has directed him and other public office holders not to visit Daska before the by-election.
“Hamza Shahbaz has now practically got involved in the political campaign after a long gap due to his 20-month detention in money laundering case. He will monitor the election campaign in coordination with the party wings during the by-election in Daska,” the publication said.
Sources said Nawaz Sharif has not lowered the role of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz as he also asked her to hold public rallies in Daska in the coming week.
They said Maryam Nawaz is now feeling quite well and she has also informed Nawaz Sharif and other party leaders about her availability for the election campaign.
Sources said Hamza Shahbaz holds a strong grip over the party wings and local organisations in the Punjab province as he worked hard at the grassroots level during the successive PML-N governments in the Punjab province.
“PML-N will make groups of party workers that will monitor the polling and counting process at every polling station. These groups will also coordinate with the polling agents to ensure that they get complete official results of their respective polling stations,” the sources said.
The NA-75 by-election, held earlier in February, was marred by violence after clashes between voters and police broke out in multiple places, including polling stations and a police station at several times during the day.
The ECP had on Feb 25 ordered re-election in the entire constituency on March 18 after suspicions that the results of the by-poll held earlier may have been falsified. The decision was given on an application filed by Syeda Nosheen Iftikhar, the PML-N candidate for the National Assembly seat.
The commission had also ordered the transfer of the Gujranwala Division commissioner and suspension of the Sialkot deputy commissioner as well as other senior administrative and police officers.
PML-N leaders and supporters accused authorities of preventing voters from casting their ballots. At least two people were killed and three others injured in a firing incident at a polling station. One of the victims was reportedly a member of the ruling PTI while the other belonged to the PML-N.
Later, the commission had changed the date of the re-election from March 18 to April 10 after the Punjab government sought time to fill the vacant positions of administrative officers.
On March 25, the apex court had ordered the deferral of re-polling in the constituency, saying that the court needed more time to decide the case.
SC rejects PTI’s plea
The Supreme Court on the last Friday rejected the PTI’s appeal against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) directives to conduct re-polling in the entire constituency of NA-75 Daska.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial had taken up an appeal filed by PTI candidate Ali Asjad Malhi challenging the ECP’s Feb 25 decision to order re-election in the entire constituency.
In the short order, Justice Bandial said the court had taken the decision in light of the law, the Constitution and its own jurisdiction. The judge also remarked that “guidelines” will be issued to prevent similar incidents in the future.