PML-N power show leaves political rivals high and dry

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Residents, motorists face problems as entire traffic converges on 9th Avenue; low attendance recorded in schools, offices
Zubair Qureshi

Political rivals and analysts, all were left guessing Wednesday as they were not expecting such a huge public rally which could be rightly said a real show of power by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after 2008’s judges restoration movement. There is one difference however, at that time it was for judges and now it’s against them. The government machinery and official sources contributed to the magnitude of the rally yet it was the public participation that infused life in it. One could see hundreds and thousands of the youths of the PML-N Youth Wing led by Anjum Aqeel Khan, former MNA, workers of the PML-N of Islamabad under the leadership of Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and MNA Danyal Aziz, a large number of party enthusiasts from KP camping on the roads chanting slogans and expressing solidarity with their leader Mian Nawaz Sharif. “PML-N leadership is custodian of the people’s mandate and masses believe in its uprightness and honesty,” said a worker of the PML-N who was holding a placard of his beloved leader Mian Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz.
Hanif Abbasi and Rana Sanaullah were also part of the PML-N rally thought they mostly supervised the law and order situation and remained most of the time at Faizabad. Those who think PML-N is gone and out are living in a fool’s paradise, said Hanif Abbasi while talking to media. “Look at the workers of the PML-N who are undoubtedly in hundreds and thousands though not in millions,” he said. However, he expressed his confidence as the caravan proceeds further, workers will continue to join in and reiterate their faith in Sharifs. Meanwhile, attendance remained low at offices and in schools because of the road blocks. Even those who turned up at offices remained glued to their TV screens watching and discussing each stage of the former Prime Minister’s led rally. The mood at offices, banks, courts and other places of work remained festive and for most of the viewers former Prime Minister after his disqualification had succeeded in regaining people’s confidence. There are many sleepless nights ahead for Imran Khan and his party men after seeing popularity of Mian Nawaz Sharif, commented an independent political analyst. While referring to the long unending queue of vehicles from Faisal Chowk to Zero Point, he asked if it was not sufficient to gauge popularity of the former Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, ambulances, school buses and public transport remained stuck up in the PML-N rally. A journalist was manhandled by the angry supporters of the PML-N while trying to record video footage of a Rescue 1122 stuck up in the PML-N rally. Safdar Klasra and Benazir Mehdi two reporters of a private TV channel were harassed, thrashed and beaten by the PML-N youths when they were trying to get the views of the relatives of the patient inside the ambulance. Similarly, another lady photographer Sadia Haideri also complained of harassment by PML-N workers. “I was harassed by the rude and uncivilized workers of the PML-N when I was trying to capture photos,” she said.
Later, condemning the violence and bullish attitude of the PML-N workers in the rally, office-bearers of the Rawalpindi Union of Journalists (RIUJ) issued a press release warning the government as well as the leadership of the PML-N against such incidents in future. Nasir Hashmi, president of the RIUJ and Ali Raza Alvi, General Secretary in a joint statement made it clear that journalists would be forced to boycott coverage of the rally and speeches of the Quaid of PML-N in case such incidents recurred.