LAHORE -  The victory of the PML-N candidate Begum Kalsoom Nawaz is likely to bring about changes in the party and the party’s government.

In view of the political observers the immediate focus after the election result of NA-120 Lahore by-polls, is the timeline as to when Kalsoom will recover and return from London to take oath as elected member of the Parliament. Her induction in the Parliament will be her start in the politics which indeed has been underlined by a time when Nawaz Sharif strongly desired his close representation in the National Assembly after his disqualification.

Begum Kalsoom some 18 years ago, after the coup of Gen Pervez Musharraf against Nawaz Sharif government, had showed her mettle against the undemocratic rule and successfully fought for the freedom and safety of her husband who at the time was imprisoned in plane hijacking case. Then she had to take the central stage in the PML-N when all others in the party had either gone into hibernation, joined the dictator or ran away from the country. The situation had suddenly come down on her and her family but she rose to the occasion, though previously she had never played any political role before.

After return of the Sharifs from ‘exile’ in Saudi Arabia in November 2007, Kalsoom never showed the penchant for politics although she enjoyed the status of First Lady of Pakistan during the third term of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The reports of her illness have also been there since the time of her ‘exile’ in Saudi Arabia.

In the backdrop of the disqualification of her spouse, Kalsoom Nawaz is likely to face a more challenging and tenacious time than post Musharraf coup period. Last time, Kalsoom fought the dictator for the freedom of her spouse standing on soft footings when her party-men had deserted her, but this time around she has come to the field at a time her party is ruling at the Centre and in Punjab. Then she was pitted against a dictator who himself stood on a loose ground for not having any civil constituency to cushion his stay in power against the internal and external pressure, but now she has to face a judiciary which - exercising legitimate and constitutional authority - is going to hold her family, including herself, accountable for the alleged corruption. This way, it is going to prove a tough time.

So far the Sharifs appear in defiance mood against the accountability references against them. The September 19 will clear the picture on this count as the Accountability Court has issued them notices for appearance. As such odds against the newly elected lady are likely to be heavy particularly when Nawaz Sharif is yearning to restore himself in politics and the government, and references – including the Hudaybia Paper Mills case wherein all the Sharifs sail in the same boat – are going to open before the trial court soon. Kalsoom Nawaz up against challenging moment, will represent her whole family in the parliament at this stage.

Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz have big clout in the party and the government so far, and that is likely to be exercised through Begum sahiba in the time to come. Therefore, possibility cannot be ruled out about Kalsoom’s getting an important and pivotal position in the party or the government or both, as her health state will permit.

While Kalsoom Nawaz was under treatment for her cancer disease in London, her campaign was vehemently run by her daughter Maryam.

During the campaign Maryam Nawaz persistently highlighted the disqualification verdict of the Supreme Court against her father, and wooed the voters to come in bulk so that rejection of the disqualification could be endorsed through more and more popular vote. She built the campaign on SC verdict wherein she also made tirade against the court and expected that this time around victory margin would exceed the previous victory margin of 40,000 secured by Nawaz Sharif in 2013 and that would fortify their case against disqualification of the former prime minister.

But this has not happened and victory has come with a margin which is one third of the previous one. Though the overall turnout was low, the votes secured by Kalsoom are below what the party was expecting – as ministers, legislators and government machinery were heavily involved in her campaign.

Begum Kalsoom and other leadership will need to offset the negative impact of this low margin of victory at the public and party level and help continue the programme which her spouse Nawaz Sharif initiated as prime minister. It will indeed be a tough task, the burden of which is likely to be shared by Nawaz and Maryam in view of Kalsoom’s health state.