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July 11, 2018

Nawaz’s welcome rally: PML-N determined to overcome obstacles


July 11, 2018

LAHORE: The PML-N meeting, held to finalise the party organisation and strategy regarding welcoming Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on Friday, decided that the congregation would be absolutely peaceful; however, if the caretaker government tried to stop the PML-N workers, they would not let obstacles stand in their way.

The meeting held at the party’s Model Town secretariat was attended by virtually all party bigwigs, including Hamza Shahbaz, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Pervaiz Rasheed, Khurram Dastgir, Rana Sanaullah, Rana Iqbal, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Salman Rafique, Rana Mashhood, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Abid Sher Ali.

They discussed the logistics for July 13 which has become the key PML-N power show in connection with its election campaign, support for Nawaz who is still the major vote bank factor for the party and the PML-N’s dissent over the NAB decision against him.

The organising committee decided to set up welcoming camps across the city, while logistics for those who would be arriving to the provincial metropolis from other parts of the country were also finalised.

It was decided in the meeting that the masses would gather at one point under the leadership of Shahbaz and then leave for the airport in the form of a rally instead of congregating at the Allama Iqbal International Airport.

However, the Ministry of Interior had already issued directives enforcing Section 144 which prohibits any rally from June 29 to July 28. The directive also prohibits the use of megaphones for inciting hatred as well. This makes the situation tricky as the provincial government and law enforcement agencies have still not assured that they would not hinder or stop the PML-N demonstration. PML-N leader Khurram Dastgir, while sharing the strategy discussed in the meeting, said the party workers and supporters would be absolutely peaceful.

However, in the event of the government trying to curb the constitutional right of the people to political association and freedom to express their support, they would not be contained

by any barricades or other obstacles erected in their way.

Rana Iqbal said there were no anarchists among the PML-N supporters and enthusiasts and ransacking the country like those who attacked the Parliament was not the way the party operated.

He too, however, said in the event of the roads being blocked through unconstitutional and unlawful actions, the PML-N knew ways to reach their destination through other means as well.

PML-N media head Senator Mushahid Hussain said the decision had proven to be the tipping point for the nation who had already expressed dissent over the victimisation of Nawaz.

Dispelling all rumours of Nawaz changing his plan and not arriving on Friday, he said the party supremo had a huge decision to make where he had his beloved wife fighting the last stage of cancer and the democratic future of the country at the other hand, but he chose the country over his personal commitment.

He said the PML-N leaders, workers and supporters would honour their leader on July 13 and 25 and “this wave will turn the tables”.

The majority of PML-N leaders, while commenting on the enforcement of Section 144, said they respected the law of the land, but the laws and their implementations should be consistent and uniform for everyone. They pointed out how

the Mall Road had been a virtual camp for even banned outfits for the entire five years and especially the last two.

If they were not considered a threat, why the peaceful PML-N supporters should be treated any differently, they argued.

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