Pakistan: Ex PM Nawaz Sharif’s Wife Wins his Seat in the Parliament
- Written by Haroon Janjua
The wife of Pakistan’s former prime minister won his seat in the parliament at Sunday’s local elections after the court recently ousted him over corruption allegations revealed in the Panama Papers.
Kulsoom Nawaz, 66, captured Nawaz Shariff’s seat at the local elections in Lahore, although her party saw an eight percent decrease in support among voters, compared to the elections in 2013.
The election is seen as a test for the Sharif dynasty ahead of the 2018 general election and as a referendum on the Supreme Court’s verdict to disqualify Nawaz Sharif.
Kulsoom Nawaz is currently in London for a cancer treatment, and her daughter Maryam Nawaz lead the election campaign for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League in her absence.
"This is not an ordinary victory," Maryam told party supporters after the results were declared. "You have defeated not only people who were in the field but also those who are invisible."
She said that her mother winning her father's former seat in the family's hometown showed that people had rejected the "unjust decision" to disqualify Nawaz.
The Supreme Court ousted Nawaz Sharif from office after an inquiry into the 2016 Panama Papers linked him and his children to offshore companies.
He has always denied the allegations, but the Supreme Court last week dismissed petitions seeking a review of its decision.
Sharif served as prime minister in the 1990s but entered a feud with the country’s president. The standoff was ended by the military, which removed both of them from office in 1999.
He became prime minister again in 2013 but the Supreme Court disqualified him for failure to declare a monthly salary, equivalent to around US$ 2,700, from a company owned by his son. Sharif denies receiving the salary.
Tensions between civilian governments and the military have been a constant source of instability in Pakistan, with the military staging coups and running the country for nearly half the time since independence from British colonial rule in 1947.