The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday accepted the nomination papers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate for the NA-120 by-poll, Yasmin Rashid.
Rashid’s primary competition for the seat is the PML-N’s fielded candidate, Kulsoom Nawaz, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s wife.
PTI’s Andleeb Abbas has been fielded as the party’s covering candidate.
According to television reports, Kulsoom, who was also set to appear before the ECP for scrutiny of her nomination papers today, has left on a flight to London from Lahore, ECP sources confirmed.
Although today is the last day for scrutiny of nomination papers, candidates can approve the appearance of someone else before the ECP in their place.
Rashid, speaking to the press after her papers were accepted by the ECP, said that the PTI had submitted a list of 25 reservations against the nomination of Kulsoom Nawaz as a contender for the NA-120 by-poll set to take place on Sept 17.
The last date to file appeals challenging the acceptance or rejection of nomination papers in an election tribunal is Aug 21, after which complaints will be decided by Aug 24.
The National Assembly seat fell vacant after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panamagate case on July 28 on charges of concealing his salary from a Dubai-based company, which he claims he had never received.
The constituency comprises Sanda, Shamnagar, Chauburji, Islamapura, Sanatnagar, Rajgarh, Riwaz Garden, Mozang, Lake Road, Lower Mall, New Anarkali, Lytton Road, Queens Road, Hall Road, Cooper Road, Mayo Hospital, Urdu Bazaar, Bilal Gunj, Ravi Colony, Kasurpura, Khokhar Town and Mominpura.
The last date for withdrawal of candidature is Aug 25, after which the list of final candidates will be published on Aug 26.
The PML-N has never lost an election in this constituency since 1985.
Nawaz Sharif was unable to contest elections from here in 2002, as he was in exile at that time.
In 2008, his nomination papers had been rejected by the then returning officer and he had to field a replacement.
In the 1985 non-party polls, Sharif had defeated Jamaat-i-Islami backed Syed Asad Gilani by securing twice the number of votes bagged by the latter. The PPP had boycotted the polls.
In 1988, from the platform of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), an alliance of anti-Bhutto parties, Sharif had defeated PPP’s Iqbal Bhatti with a margin of 13,000 votes.
As a nominee of the same alliance in 1990, he defeated Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, whose party (the Tehreek-i-Istiqlal) he had joined in 1978.
In 1993, he formed his own faction of the PML and defeated PPP’s Zia Bakht Butt with a lead of around 24,000 votes.
The winning margin increased to almost 40,000 when he defeated PPP’s Hafiz Ghulam Mohayuddin in the 1997 election when his party grabbed two-thirds majority in the NA.
In 2013, Yasmin Rashid had given Mr Sharif a tough time by securing around 52,000 votes.