ISLAMABAD  -  In the absence of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz would have to face a lot of difficulties in running an effective election campaign.

Background interviews and information shared by some of the senior party leaders depict the nervousness among the top party leadership who considered that the absence of Nawaz Sharif would damage the party’s campaign enormously and would result in some major loss of seats, which otherwise could be secured in case the party Quaid leading the election campaign.

But on the other hand, Nawaz Sharif along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz was in London and could not be in a position to fly back any sooner owing to the persistent critical condition of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz who is on ventilator for well over two weeks.

Credible sources in the party informed that the medical reports of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz were not encouraging and the little bit improvement in her condition did not bring her out of critical phase so till the time she would be out of danger the chances of Nawaz Sharif or her daughter Maryam Nawaz’s return back to the country are slim.

To fill the void created by the absence of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, both the crowd puller leaders in the party leadership was considering the possibility of arranging some video-link public addresses of Nawaz Sharif by close of the elections campaign.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was already in hot waters and a number of its candidates were facing corruption charges and some are facing disqualification in contempt of court cases so in these circumstances the absence of Nawaz Sharif from national political scene would cost the party dearly.

But some senior party leaders were of the view that Nawaz Sharif would return back but in case he could not owing to the illness of his spouse the overall election campaign of the party would not be affected, as since his disqualification Nawaz Sharif was on the election campaign of his party and had addressed huge public rallies across the country.

Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan did not rule out the possibility of some video-link addresses by Nawaz Sharif from London in case he could not return back due to the illness of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, who according to him was still in a very critical condition.

He however said that right now no such proposal was under consideration as Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were eager to return back and lead the election campaign of the party.

To a question, he dispelled the impression that Nawaz Sharif’s absence would leave some negative impact on the party’s election campaign, adding that Nawaz Sharif over the past year or so had fully charged the people of Pakistan and his narrative of restoring respect of vote and civilian supremacy was inculcated in their minds.

He further said that people of Pakistan has seen that the so-called accountability process could not establish corruption of even a single penny against Nawaz Sharif so by and large people of Pakistan would stand by him and vote for his candidates whether he would be here or not.

But some senior party leaders agreed that the absence of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz would damage the party’s election campaign and that was the reason the option of his address by video-link by close of the election campaign was under consideration provided he could not be in a position to return back by the middle of next month.

Political analysts said that the verdict in Avenfield Properties Corruption reference against Nawaz Sharif and his other family members would likely come in the first week of July as the final arguments in the case were coming to close so in case of conviction, which seemed imminent, the chances of Nawaz Sharif’s return would further diminish.

Sources in the party informed that following the arrest of one of the PML-N candidates Engineer Qamarul Islam by NAB from Rawalpindi, former premier Nawaz Sharif had contacted a number of senior party leaders and discussed with them the situation back home and further directed them to hold a video-link meeting of the senior party leaders with him so that a strategy could be devised to deal with these issues.

The sources said that the strong condemnation of Engineer Qamarul Islam arrest by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also came on the direction of Nawaz Sharif.

Sources said that the issue of Nawaz Sharif’s public addresses through video-link would also be discussed and finalised in the video-link meeting of the party leadership.

 

 

In absence of Nawaz, PML-N redevises campaign strategy

 

ABRAR SAEED