Sharif withdraws nomination papers for parliamentary by-polls



Lahore: Pakistan's main Opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has withdrawn his nomination papers for next month's parliamentary by-polls after his party decided that he can mount greater pressure on the ruling coalition from outside the House.

Sharif had earlier announced his decision not to contest the by-polls but the former premier had to withdraw his nomination papers after his candidature was challenged in the Lahore High Court.

Freelance journalist Shahid Orakzai filed a petition in the High Court?s election tribunal on Friday in which he alleged that after the 1993 general election, Sharif and his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, had negotiated a deal with him to "buy" the votes of seven parliamentarians from the tribal areas for the election of the speaker of the National Assembly.

The Court on Tuesday reserved its judgment on Orakzai’s petition after hearing arguments by lawyers from both sides.

According to PML-N insiders, Sharif decided not to take part in the forthcoming by-polls from a seat in Lahore after detailed consultations with party leaders.

Senior PML-N leaders were of the view that Sharif would not be in a better position to play his cards once he became a member of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

"In fact, Sharif is neither fit to be the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly nor a mere parliamentarian," one PML-N leader said.

He said it will "be good for his political career and the party if he continues mounting pressure on the Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition government from outside the parliament".

PTI