Opposition PML-N chief and former premier Nawaz Sharif will not contest upcoming by-elections to Pakistan's parliament, sources in the party said on Saturday.
"After long consultations within the party, Nawaz Sharif has finally decided not to take part in forthcoming by-polls to a parliamentary seat in Lahore," a close aide of the PML-N chief told PTI.
"Senior party leaders are of the view that Mr Sharif will not be in a better position to play his cards once he becomes a member of the National Assembly. He should not simply be the Leader of Opposition or a mere parliamentarian. It is better for his political career and the party that he remains behind the scenes at the moment," said the aide, who did not want to be named.
PML-N spokesman Pervez Rashid was more circumspect, saying the party is yet to make a "final decision" on whether Sharif would contest the by-polls.
However, Sharif's aide said there were several reasons, which had influenced the decision not to field the PML-N chief as a candidate in the by-polls though he could easily win.
"Since the PML-N's outspoken leaders like Chaudhry NisarAli Khan, Ahsan Iqbal and Khwaja Asif leave no opportunity to embarrass the Pakistan People's Party-led government, the PML-N sees no reason to send Mr Sharif to the National Assembly," the aide said.