LAHORE: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam, on Monday denied reports of a rift within the Sharif family, saying that she has no differences with her paternal cousin Hamza Shehbaz.
“God forbid if we have any differences. Hamza is [like] my younger brother. “I have been hearing stories of disagreements within the Sharif family since 30 years but there is no truth in these reports,” Maryam said while talking to reporters during a visit to the NA-120 constituency from where her mother, Kulsoom Nawaz won the by-election on Sept 17.
“Those hoping for differences to erupt in the Sharif family will be disappointed,” she said, adding, “We are all united under Nawaz Sharif’s leadership”.
There have been reports of rifts within the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership as well as demands by some party officials of handing over the party’s leadership to Nawaz’s younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif until the former’s corruption cases are settled.
While responding to a question regarding the Pakistan Army, Maryam said that “the institution gives the supreme sacrifice and protects our borders. We all own them. It will be good if every institution works within its constitutional limits”.
Maryam also said that the cases against the Sharif family will continue forever and even then nothing will become of them.
In response to another question, she said, “I hope the democratic government will complete its tenure”.
During the visit, Maryam expressed concern over the loss in the PML-N’s vote bank in the recent by-election.
Maryam is expected to contest the 2018 general elections from that constituency, where she has led two successful campaigns in the past.
The result of the recent by-elections, despite delivering the PML-N a clear mandate, was worrisome. The PML-N lost almost 30,000 votes and its overall margin of victory dropped from 41,000 to 13,000 votes.
According to sources, Maryam’s camp in the party blames the provincial government for ignoring the former prime minister’s constituency while allocating development projects. Her recent meeting with her uncle Shehbaz Sharif was partly to forward the complaints and concerns of NA 120.
To make up for the lost ground, she has started frequent visits to the constituency.
On Monday, during her latest visit, she made a brief stop at local MPA Majid Zahoor’s office where she enquired into the situation and grievances of locals.
When Zahoor told her that everything was under control, she reportedly enquired into the reason for losing such a large segment of the vote bank. She also received complaints from the constituents before going to visit the Government Teaching Hospital which is under construction.