Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Thursday filed nomination papers for four constituencies of the Punjab Assembly ahead of polls scheduled for April 30.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the PMLN leader has filed nomination papers for PPP-149 (Lahore-VI), PPP-173, and PP-158 in Lahore, and for PP-63 in Gujranwala. Of these, two—PP-149 and PP-63—were won by PMLN workers in 2018, while the remaining two were won by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Maryam’s candidacy is being seen as a “test” of her popularity, as this will be the first time she contests any elections. There are also reports of the PMLN wanting to elect her the chief minister of Punjab if it wins the elections, which would be an easier prospect if she enters Parliament through a popular vote rather than through a reserved seat for women. According to a party spokesperson, the party has yet to decide whether Maryam would contest all four constituencies or withdraw her nomination for some of them later.
Similarly, former Punjab chief minister Hamza Shehbaz—who recently returned to Pakistan after several months abroad—has also filed nomination papers from three constituencies—PP-146, PP-147, and PP-163. Adviser to the P.M. Attaullah Tarar, meanwhile, has filed nomination papers from PP-158 and PP-163, potentially as a covering candidate.
The PMLN’s chief opponent in central Punjab remains the PTI, and multiple candidates of the party have filed nomination papers for each constituency of the provincial assembly. According to the ECP, the party with the most candidacies—at this stage—is the Pakistan Peoples Party.