LAHORE - The city roads have been decorated with banners, flexes and posters showing staunch support to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, ahead of the announcement of high profile Panama case today.

The show of fidelity to Nawaz has also been witnessed in other cities including Islamabad, Gujranwala, and Faisalabad.

The revelations of amassing and hiding wealth abroad by a number of Pakistanis around a year ago took the country by storm as the list of names included the PM’s children.

The Supreme Court took the case for hearing after months of hue and cry by opposition parties, especially by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

The case assumed much importance as the fate of the prime minister himself hangs in balance over allegations of wrongdoing on his part as well.

The flexes and posters put on in Lahore roads carried the picture of Nawaz Sharif; Minister Railways Khwaja Saad Rafiq and his brother Khwaja Salman Rafiq; and MPAs Yasin Sohal and Mian Naseer.

The flexes and posters are inscribed with slogans, ‘Quaid tera aik ishara hazar hazar lahoo hamara’ Qadam Barhao Nawaz Sharif hum tumharey saath hein.’

The wording sounds quite suggestive, even threatening, as it goes beyond mere commending Nawaz Sharif and carries an implicit warning that the PML-N workers could even resort to mobbing in case the apex court delivers an adverse judgment.

The apex court reserved the verdict on February 23, after both the defence and prosecution completed their arguments. All the parties whether on the ruling or the opposite side say that the verdict will be as per law and the constitution. They have reposed complete confidence in the court.

The party leaders, who might be directly affected by the decision, also do not doubt about the fairness and impartiality of the decision which is, indeed, a positive gesture on their part. In this background, what is the significance of exhibiting such material with fear striking remarks is not understandable.

The flexes and posters have been affixed on The Mall and on the roads on NA-125, which happens only after due permission from PHA or the municipal authorities. Citizens gazed these posters and flexes to understand what they actually mean. In interaction most of them found the language provocative and fear striking and did not approve of such practice when the ruling side has reposed confidence in judiciary and has assured to accept its decision.

Some commented that they aim at overawing the judiciary anticipating an adverse decision others said, the wording does not give a palatable taste but hints at the apprehensions of some clash or altercation.

Talking to this scribe, Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan defended the display of posters as demonstration of love and affection of the people which they have for their leader Nawaz Sharif.

On the wording, he said, the PML-N workers can tolerate the baseless allegations against their leader to a limit. However, he said, the party leadership has given clear instructions to the members to keep the workers calm, cool and peaceful.  These posters and flexes are not threatening but show sentiments of the PML-N workers for Nawaz Sharif, he concluded.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 20-Apr-2017 here.