Islamabad: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz and their daughter Maryam Nawaz have emerged as top contenders to contest the National Assembly seat vacated by Sharif after he was disqualified by the Supreme Court last month.
"In the internal party discussions so far, names of Begum Kulsoom and Maryam have emerged as first and second priority respectively as PML-N candidates for the seat (that) fell vacant after disqualification of the Prime Minister," a party official told the Dawn newspaper. The party official, however, quoted Sharif as telling a party meeting that he would take a final decision after reaching Lahore. The former Prime Minister had earlier hinted that his younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should succeed him as Prime Minister after contesting from the NA-120 seat in Lahore to become a National Assembly member. But Shahbaz Sharif's name was apparently withdrawn after some senior party members feared that in the absence of the younger Sharif from Punjab, the pace of ongoing mega projects in the province would be affected, reported the daily. Though Begum Kalsoom had successfully led the party's movement for the release of her jailed husband after a military coup in 1999, neither she nor her daughter Maryam has ever taken part in any electoral bout at any level. Polling for the Lahore seat will be held on September 17.