Nawaz Sharif and Yasmin Rashid
It seems very difficult for Pakistan Muslim League Noon (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif, who is dreaming of becoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the fourth time, to win from his seat in Lahore. Here Nawaz is facing a tough electoral competition from the jailed Khatoon who could not even once come in front of the people of Lahore to ask for votes in this election. Lahore seat was considered a halwa for the Nawaz family and their party, but in the last two elections, Dr. Yasmin Rashid denied this to a great extent.
People are remembering the 2013 election results of Pakistan, when at 11 pm on the same day of voting, Nawaz Sharif had declared victory and claimed to form a new government. But the situation is different in 2024. Voting ended in the evening on 8th but there was silence in the PML-N camp even till 9 am on 9th February. Keep aside for a moment the attempts that PML-N is making on other seats, Nawaz Sharif sometimes seems to be gaining on his seat and sometimes he is lagging behind.
Will Nawaz lose even after winning?
Dr Yasmin Rashid, who belonged to former Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), convicted in the Cypher, Toshakhana and 'illegal marriage' cases, contested the elections against Nawaz from jail. Rashid has been in jail since last May in the case of planning attack on Idars, in between she was acquitted for some time but then arrested. In such a situation, his party supporters went door-to-door and campaigned for him. When Imran's party was in power in Punjab state, the health department of that government was with Dr. Rashid.
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On Yasmin's lead, some even said that when the entire machinery of the country, especially the Pakistani Army, seemed to be ready for the victory of Nawaz Sharif's party at any cost, even Imran Khan was thrown out of the game. Even after his party's symbol was snatched away, if Nawaz Sharif is struggling to win his seat, then this election will be a loss for him even if he wins. 'Give praise to Pakistan' PML-N's slogan seems to have failed to a great extent.
Yasmin Rashid: Voice of Resistance!
Only after 73 year old Yasmin Rashid filed her nomination from Lahore seat, there were full chances that it would not be easy for Mian Nawaz Sharif to win the election from this seat. First of all, the election results in Pakistan were to be declared last night itself, but till 12 hours after the voting ended, the Election Commission could not declare the results of more than two-four seats. Various parties and leaders, especially independent candidates supported by PTI, expressed apprehension of fraud over the delay in the results. Especially Yasmin Rashid – PTI personnel were seen to be alert to ensure that Nawaz Sharif's seat is not rigged.
Rashid gave such a tough fight to Nawaz Sharif when she could not campaign and did not even have a 'bat'. Yet he received support and praise from prominent people of Pakistan and even from some of his rivals. That is because the Pakistani establishment, state and different parts of the government imposed all kinds of restrictions and 'excesses' against Imran's party and its officials, many of Imran's lieutenants turned their backs on PTI, Yasmin did not step back. . It is another matter that last year the same army was doing all this on behalf of Imran's party and Nawaz's camp was suffering but now the days have changed.
Rashid's life, political journey
In July 2017, Nawaz Sharif had to step down from the post of Prime Minister after being found guilty in the Panama Papers case. After this Nawaz's Lahore seat became vacant. By-elections were held in which his wife Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif faced PTI's Yasmin Rashid. Kulsoom Sharif could win the election by just 14 thousand votes. Next year in 2018, when Pakistan's National Assembly elections were held, Nawaz could not be a candidate because he was a convicted person. In such a situation, Pakistan Muslim League Noon chose senior leader of his party Waheed Alam Khan to contest elections from this constituency of Lahore. This time also Rashid lost the election by a margin of 17 thousand but she established herself as a fighting leader in front of the Nawaz family and the party.
Later, she was elected from a seat reserved for women in Punjab province and served as the Health Minister of Punjab province from 2018 to 2023. Yasmin, a native of Chakwal city of Punjab province, was a doctor by profession. Completed MBBS from Fatima Jinnah Medical University at the age of 28. Later she returned to her country with medical degrees like MRCOG, FRCOG from Britain. (What is MRCOG, FRCOG, this is for another time, the rest is with you on Google)
Yes, Yasmin had a long work in the medical field. She was the President of Pakistan Medical Association, Lahore from 1998 to 2000 and later oversaw the functioning of the Medical Association of the entire Punjab province. Yasmin also held the responsibility of the test force and committee formed for women's health and development for a time. Yasmin's political career is not very long. Just a decade ago, in 2010, after retiring from government service, she entered politics under the banner of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Her husband's family is politically influential. His father-in-law was once the education minister of Punjab province. It is said that Yasmin entered politics on his advice and then went on registering and strengthening herself in Pakistani politics through PTI.
May 9th attack planned?
Imran Khan trusted Yasmin and made her the president of PTI Punjab. Yasmin had to leave her ministerial post in January last year after PTI's Chaudhary Pervez Elahi's government in Punjab was defeated. A few months later, the historic day in the history of Pakistan, which the army and its sympathizers called 'black day', came on 9 May. Violence broke out after Imran's arrest, with allegations that many PTI workers carried out attacks and arson on other army buildings, including the Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi and the ISI building in Faisalabad. Just three days later, Yasmin was arrested for planning the attack.
Yasmin was acquitted in June last year. But then the police of Punjab province claimed that Yasmin Rashid was the main conspirator in the Jinnah House arson case. It was claimed that 315 calls were recorded on the day of the arson. Of these, 41 calls were from Yasmin alone. It was decided that Rashid would not be able to come out of jail soon. Last week, during the hat-trick punishment to Imran Khan, Yasmin Rashid was also convicted in a terrorism case. But she remained the voice of resistance from jail itself and kept shouting against Nawaz.
It is possible that Nawaz Sharif may retain the Lahore seat today, but considering the fate of PML-N and especially Mian Nawaz Sharif in an easy election, the jailed Yasmin Rashid must be reading the words of Jigar Saheb that…'Congratulations to you on this victory!'