With the final date of submission for the NA-120 candidates' nomination papers closing in, major political parties are still struggling to finalise a name for the coveted seat.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had announced that the submission of nomination papers will be accepted from Thursday (today) until August 12. So far, none of the candidates have submitted their nomination papers, the ECP's public relations officer, Huda Gohar, confirmed to Dawn.
The NA-120 seat, Lahore-III, fell vacant after the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the premier of the country, and asked ECP to issue a notification removing him as a member of the National Assembly.
PML-N, the ruling party, is said to be considering Maryam Nawaz and Begum Kulsoom Nawaz as party candidates for the NA-120 seat — an official announcement, however, has yet to be made.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had earlier announced his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif's name as the party candidate. His name was later withdrawn as party members deemed his presence in Punjab too important.
"Punjab is very important for the PML-N and [the party thinks] Shahbaz Sharif should continue serving here," a PML-N leader told Dawn. The party campaign, however, revolves around the development projects initiated in the province by the Punjab chief minister.
So far, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is the only party that has announced its candidate, Dr Yasmeen Rashid, whose campaign is in full swing. PML-Q has also thrown its weight behind Rashid, whose supporters are reportedly going door to door to spread the party's message among the residents of the constituency.
The PPP, expected to field its own candidate, has yet to decide a name. The party has started its campaign, however, by mobilising old guards to support any candidate the party leadership decides on and is slowly building its momentum by holding occasional corner meetings. According to reports, the names of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan and Azizur Rehman Chan, the chief of the party's Lahore wing, are being considered as possible candidates.