ISLAMABAD - The address of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif today (Sunday) at the heart of Hazara Division would herald the formal launching of the mass contact campaign by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which was actually engaged with public since the disqualification of ex-premier by the apex court and his marathon return journey to Lahore via the Grand Trunk Road.

The selection of the venue was carefully made mainly to come up with counter narrative to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf campaign against the ruling party particularly targeting the Sharif family.

The decision of mass contact campaign by the ruling PML-N leadership was made to counter the negative propaganda of PTI and other opposition parties against the Sharif family and with the aim to dilute the negative impact of the ongoing trial of the Sharif family in the accountability court, a senior party leader informed The Nation.

Insiders in the ruling party informed that since the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister and member parliament it was decided that the party must come up with some narrative to counter impact of all this on party in next general elections.

Though it was the clear-cut position of the ruling PML-N that elections would be held on time rejecting the demand of PTI for holding early elections, they have to come out on roads only to counter the PTI massive public rallies, which the party was holding across the country.

In the recently held meeting at Raiwind residence of Nawaz Sharif, the senior party leaders were unanimous in their views that PML-N would also start mass contact campaign to counter the propaganda against the leadership and to highlight the government’s achievements over the past four years in power.

These sources in the party admitted that the launching of mass contact campaign by the PML-N leadership mainly disqualified premier Nawaz Sharif, rightly a crowd puller, was made in the face of PTI Chairman Imran whirlwind addresses to huge public rallies in the length and breadth of the country smashing the narrative Nawaz Sharif and his close aides were building about the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif which was not made on corruption charges but on keeping Aqama (residence certificate).

Political analysts saw the troubles and vows multiplying for Sharifs in coming days and months as Nawaz Sharif’s both sons were already declared proclaimed offenders in the case and could be awarded punishment in absentia in a next few days while Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is also relative of Nawaz Sharif, would unlikely return back and his non-bailable arrest warrants were already issued and would be on the course of being declared proclaimed offender.

Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law are also facing corruption trial in Accountability Court Islamabad, and countering all this in their mass contact campaign, especially in the presence of very powerful, inquisitive and ever-probing media, is an uphill task.

Some senior party leaders admitted that the Nawaz Sharif’s narrative to restore the sanctity of vote and that he was ousted from power as a result of some conspiracy, whose handlers, the three-time prime minister of country was keeping under veil,  never got public approval, so the party leadership has to come up with something in their defence which would get the public approval and provide base for the party to go in next general elections with same popularity which it used to enjoy, especially in the plains of Punjab.

The selection of Abbottabad, the headquarters of Hazara Division, was smartly picked as the area remained the stronghold of the ruling PML-N and they would definitely make it a big show and would try to establish that it was all because of the PTI failure to deliver in the province where they are government.

The party leaders were already given direction by party chief Nawaz Sharif to approach the masses in their respective constituencies to highlight the party’s achievements and the negative impact on the overall governance by the ouster of Nawaz Sharif under a conspiracy.

The party MPs would also be given huge development funds for ongoing and new development projects in their respective areas so that they could appease the people by resolving their problems. The decision of lifting ban on the new Sui gas connections was also part of this policy.

Former premier Nawaz Sharif after addressing the Abbottabad rally would fly out to London to attend to his ailing spouse Begum Kalsoom Nawaz and the further plan of his public addresses would be fixed on his return most probably after a week’s time as Accountability Court Islamabad had given him exemption from personal appearance in the corruption cases against him till Nov 27.

Staff Reporter from Lahore adds: Former information minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid said while talking to The Nation that turnout and enthusiasm at Abbottabad’s Sunday public meeting would be more than seen at the rallies addressed by the former prime minister on the GT road while returning to Lahore from Islamabad after his disqualification by the Supreme Court on July 28.

He said ground realities were different from what are being projected by the media or seen through court verdicts.

He said the PML-N wants that political change should be brought about only through elections and vote be respected by everyone.