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PML-N finally concedes to elections in Punjab, K-P

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While Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had been vocal about postponing elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and had even used its position of power in the Centre for the purpose, it seems to have finally come to terms with the reality of elections and the repercussions of stonewalling the Supreme Court (SC) orders as party President Shehbaz Sharif has invited application from candidates for party tickets and instructed the party to prepare for the polls.

Shehbaz has called for applications for party tickets from interested candidates from Punjab. He has also directed the party’s parliamentary boards to finalise the lists of the candidates for Punjab and K-P. He has further directed the candidates to submit the papers in their respective constituencies in view of the announcement of March 14 as the last date for the submission of nomination papers in Punjab by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

For submitting applications, candidates have been instructed to approach the central party secretariat at 180-H Model Town. The party president has also instructed the workers to prepare a plan for running an election campaign.

In his message to party candidates, he said that the party leaders should prepare themselves to enter the political arena. He said that under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, they have taken Pakistan out of crises in the past and will do it again now. He further said that PML-N, during its time in power, ensured the reduction in prices of essential commodities, eradicated terrorism, provided world-class travel facilities, ended load-shedding, stabilised the economy, educated youth, provided jobs, and gave scholarships.

So far, PML-N was maintaining that the party would only enter the electoral arena after a level playing field was provided to them and after Nawaz was cleared of all the charges that were placed on him.

Party’s chief organizer, Maryam Nawaz, whose division-wise tours were dubbed as an election campaign, had reiterated these demands during a youth convention. It was generally perceived that PML-N was not entering the political arena despite being up against a formidable rival, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and would continue with the pursuit of trying to delay the polls by using finance or security as an excuse.

However, any attempt to further delay the elections would have brought the central government against the apex court. Interestingly the newly-appointed chief organiser of the party, while addressing the young leaders of the party, did not even hint towards the party’s plan of inviting applications.

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