LAHORE - Both the young Sharifs, Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, came out on a public-contact drive in the city yesterday.

Maryam Nawaz visited NA-120 constituency while her cousin, Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, reached his constituency NA-119 in the city. Both met their workers and the party office bearers in their respective constituencies, which from all aspects appeared to be a public-contact drive on their part. Both the cousins were warmly received by the party men and they heard problems and obtained reports on progress of development schemes in the constituencies. 

Maryam Nawaz has been quite in the picture in NA-120 since the campaign time for her mother Begum Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif and she played a key role in leading Begum Sahiba to victory. NA-120 Lahore has become pet constituency of Nawaz Sharif family as the former PM returned to the assembly thrice from the same constituency. In is notable that after winning the by-election in NA-120 on September 17 last, Maryam Nawaz remained in touch with the people of the constituency where she is receiving a very warm welcome. Maryam came to know about many things in this constituency after visiting its various areas. She has been hearing complaints from the public and issuing on-the-spot instructions. Supply of clean water which was identified as the major problem of the area was addressed on priority followed by sewerage, roads and cleanliness. Many foresee Maryam Nawaz Sharif will contest election from this constituency.

On her arrival in the constituency areas of Victoria Park, Mayo Hospital and others, Maryam Nawaz received undiminished enthusiasm of the party men as they thronged her security vehicle, chanting slogans and showering rose petals on her.

Hamza Shehbaz Sharif visited the Misri Sha area of his constituency and received a tremendous welcome from his voters and supporters. Hamza Shehbaz Sharif is a popular politician of the city not merely for Sharifs’ kinship but also for solving problems of the people of his constituency and other parts of the city although he has not been a frequent visitor to NA-119 after the election.

Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, as a matter of fact, has presented himself as the PML-N leader of the whole city; as such his contribution to the victory of the party candidates like Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in NA-122 by-election cannot be discounted by any stretch. His political outreach may also be reckoned province-wide since there is hardly any by-election in Punjab in which he did not make appearance in public rallies to motivate the voters.

The presence of the young Sharifs is indeed a very welcome move for the party and the voters in the city. Since Maryam Nawaz Sharif formally entered politics, leading campaign for his mother, both the young Sharifs were never seen visiting the city at the same time. Hamza Shehbaz Sharif was associated with the campaign team for Begum Kalsoom, but he flew to London although he said his team was very much active in the election drive . Given the change in the political scenario after disqualification of Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court in Panama case, media reports projected ties of these young Sharifs not ideal although none of them endorsed this fact. The media reported at a time when Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif had to intervene to calm both of them down.

Whenever asked by media, Maryam Nawaz termed Hamza Shehbaz her younger brother with no differences. Now both have come to the field, which is a good omen for the party. However, given the background, a question strikes mind of political observers whether their active politics in the city would mean a race to raise their political stature against each other or become a political auxiliary and mutual help in the wider interest of the party. Whatever it may, the Lahorites have found a good chance to have the young Sharifs in the field and among themselves to see and hear them and have their problems solved. In their talk to the media, both ruled out any differences in the party and at the family level, which means they are active with a positive mind to dispel the negative impressions.

Meanwhile, Central Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Hamza Shehbaz MNA categorically said the train of democracy should continue at all cost, adding legislation from the National Assembly is a good omen, which would pave the way for general elections in 2018.

Talking to media persons, Hamza Shehbaz said thereal decision would be made in the court of the people in the 2018 elections. He said: “Accountability is not new for us; we have already faced such things in the Musharaf regime.” He said in the same Hudaibiya case, he was sentenced for six months in his college time when he was not even of 18 years. Hamza Shahbaz said: “We certainly have some reservations on the present situation and it is vital that justice should be done and ends of justice met.”  Answering a question, Hamza Shehbaz claimed they owe no liability, so the courts would clear them. He said those who wanted to see differences in Sharif Family would be disappointed again. He averred Ishaq Dar served the people of Pakistan as finance minister and “we pray for his early recovery.” Hamza Shehbaz said Ishaq Dar would definitely come back to Pakistan as this is his country.

Earlier, Hamza Shehbaz visited the residences of councillors Tariq Butt and Rafique Guddu Butt in Northern Lahore to offer condolences to their families. He also listened to the complaints of the people and assured them of solving these problems at the earliest.

Earlier, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, talking to media persons during her visit to NA-120 here, said conspiracies to divide PML-N will fail. Maryam said the PML-N was intact and the plans to create rifts therein would not succeed. To a question about the reported 72 members of the N-League standing aloof from the party, she turned down such reports and said they were with the party. Maryam said differences in PML-N may be a desire of anyone, but not a reality. “I don’t see the 72 PML-N men on the ground,” she added. Answering a question, she said the tiger (the PML-N election symbol) will again roar in the next elections. Showing optimism about court cases against the Sharifs, she said the verdicts will be good.

To yet another question, Maryam Nawaz Sharif replied she was not flying to London since her mother under treatment there was stable.