LAHORE - The allegations levelled by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz that their workers in NA-120 Lahore were lifted from homes two days before the polling day sound surprising given the fact that the PML-N government was in place in the Centre and the Punjab and a crackdown was made on its party men keeping the ruling party in the dark.

Talking to media in London, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz in Lahore in their victory speeches after the unofficial election result of NA-120 here, made the disclosure of their missing persons. They, however, did not point out who picked them up from the constituency. Yet their clear indication was towards the elements which believably had acted over and above the government authority for carrying out this alleged operation.

Maryam, in her speech, also mentioned about the anonymous threat calls to PML-N workers in NA-120 constituency making out the point that arrangements were made beforehand to restrain the PML-N voters from casting votes for Begum Kalsoom. She also spoke about the problems faced by her party voters at the polling stations as they were misguided or stopped from casting votes and the chits in their hand were torn apart if they were found casting vote for ‘Lion.’ These charges were repeated by Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq while interacting with media Sunday evening. The PML-N leaders were also surprised over 44 candidates contesting the NA-120 election and termed it unusual about the by-election as it purported to divide a consolidated vote-bank of the N-League. 

The PML-N leaders at the same time, said that their main rival party, PTI was facilitated in the election and voters of this party were offered every cooperation and help at the polling stations for exercising their right to vote. They also expressed serious reservations for not allowing the PML-N voters to cast vote after 5pm when they had queued up for entering the polling stations. They estimated such voters in thousands who failed to cast vote due to time restriction imposed on them.

The internal security of the polling stations was jointly given to the army and the Rangers which both however efficiently discharged as nowhere any complaints against them were received.

The PML-N leaders levelled very serious allegations, however, stopped short of revealing who was behind all that. What they said clearly showed that they were pointing finger towards the elements whom they had accused of conspiring against Sharif rule.

The interior minister also substantiated this media report that pressure was on the NAB for reopening the Hudabiya Paper Mills case.

He also termed his removal from office a conspiracy since his ouster by the SC had been based on keeping an ‘Iqama’ and for not accepting salary from his son. Maryam, throughout the campaign for her mother in NA-120, also spoke on the same lines in veiled and unveiled remarks. The PML-N terms PTI a ‘spokesman’ of the forces which conspired against Nawaz Sharif. In this way, the contest of this party was indirectly with the same forces which the N leadership believes, had factored ouster of Nawaz Sharif.

By alleging that the PML-N men were picked up or threatened or restrained from casting votes in NA-120, the party leaders viewed these forces were still operating about which Maryam had also said in one of her campaign speeches.

The most interesting fact is that the PML-N rules at the federal and the Punjab levels but, officially no words were uttered about any conspiracy against Sharifs nor the other parties in the parliament did so.

In this situation, a question strikes the mind that whether genuine attempts were made to turn a certain victory of Kalsoom Nawaz into a defeat, but again the claim cannot be substantiated. Such claims may have been made to cover up the low margin victory of Kalsoom Nawaz. Question also arises that why PML-N government at both levels beforehand failed to foil this attempt? For the analysts, these allegations could be proved only after the investigations.