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Panama Papers

Pakistan ex-PM’s wife wins his parliament seat from a hospital bed in London

Sharif’s daughter Maryam led the campaign on behalf of her mother Kalsoom, the candidate, who is being treated for throat cancer in London

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 September, 2017, 1:20pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 September, 2017, 8:39pm

The wife of Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif appeared to have won the parliamentary seat vacated by her husband following his disqualification by the Supreme Court from holding public office.

Victory by Kulsoom Sharif, who is currently receiving medical treatment in London, was declared by her daughter Sunday in front of supporters at the head office of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party in Lahore.

“Nawaz Sharif has won” against the court decision disqualifying him, Maryam said. The former leader is also in London.

According to unofficial results from most of polling stations, Kalsoom had secured more than 59,000 votes while her main rival Yasmin Rashid from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party had bagged more than 44,000 votes.

Kulsoom, 67, is currently recuperating in a London hospital after undergoing surgery. Nawaz Sharif told media that doctors have recommended additional surgery for her.

In her election speeches, Maryam claimed that her father was ousted as prime minister through a conspiracy by forces within Pakistan, including what she alleged was the military’s loathing of strong civilian government.

“You have frustrated the ongoing conspiracies against the people. You have fought the invisible forces. Now people would reign supreme,” she said.

Sharif’s supporters celebrated in the streets Sunday night, dancing to drums and songs blaring from loudspeakers and shouting slogans while the Lahore sky was lit by fireworks.

Traditional confectionery were distributed by the workers and supporters to celebrate the expected victory.

The PTI party was led by former cricketer Imran Khan, who played a key role campaigning for Sharif’s dismissal.

The campaign of Kulsoom’s main rival Rashid focused on the message that the judiciary found Nawaz Sharif unfit to hold public office because he is “dishonest”.

Sharif was forced to resign on July 28 after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office for being corrupt and dishonest about his wealthy family’s overseas assets as revealed by the leaked Panama Papers.

Political pundits described Maryam’s role in her mother’s election campaign as the launch of her political career as heir apparent of her father.

Last month the former prime minister 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.

During the trip Sharif repeatedly blasted the court’s actions, saying the decision was an “insult” to Pakistanis.

Kyodo, Agence France-Presse