Lahore: NA-120, by-election polling time ends

Cheryl Sanders
September 17, 2017

Rashid says her contest is not against Kulsoom but the federal and provincial governments of the PML-N and the Sharif family.

In her absence, Kulsoom's daughter Maryam Nawaz is running the campaign.

Hours after polling started, activists of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and PML-N nearly came to blows at Cooper Road, chanting slogans against each other. She said the people of Pakistan "know everything, and they have supported us throughout".

Neither Maryam nor her father have explicitly said who is behind the conspiracy, but it's understood to imply the involvement of Pakistan's powerful military establishment which has clashed with Nawaz Sharif's civilian administration in the past.

Speaking to the BBC, Maryam Nawaz describes the corruption allegations as a "targeted attack" on Nawaz Sharif.

Last month Sharif led legions of supporters from the capital Islamabad to his hometown, Lahore, in a days-long procession that brought thousands into the streets in a show of force.

Polls predict a PML-N victory again now, but it's not clear whether their margin will increase or decrease.

The members of the Sharif family have been summoned by the accountability court on September 19 and Dar on September 20.

Long lines of voters were seen at numerous NA-120 electoral constituency's 220 polling stations in the eastern city, capital of Punjab province, on Sunday. "In our area, work only gets done if you go through [the PML-N's] workers".

Meanwhile, Sharif, his wife and many of his close aides were almost silent as they waited out the election thousands of miles away in London.

Among the candidates are Jama'at-i-Islami's (JI) Ziaur Rehman Ansari and the newly formed Milli Muslim League's independent candidate, Sheikh Mohammad Yaqoob.

According to the unverified and unofficial results being shared by DawnNews, a close contest is being observed between PTI's candidate Dr Yasmin Rashid and PML-N's Kulsoom Nawaz - with no one claiming a considerable lead as yet. But their posters are across the city, many featuring the picture of Hafiz Saeed. "Everyone in the US said it would be her victory, and they all proved wrong".

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