LAHORE – The PML-N rally on Saturday against the federal government for unequal electricity loadshedding in the province and hike in power tariff got mix response which was evident from low turnout of participants.

The rally was led by MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, son of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The protest rally started from Muslim Masjid and concluded at the Bhaati Gate. The rally was a gesture of what the PML-N called a long drive against the failed government policies which crippled the country in the form prolonged loadshedding affecting the industrial and domestic sectors of the province, wherein the PML-N rules.

The turnout of the people in the City, where the PML-N commands 11 National Assembly seats of the total 13, was low giving it a disordered look. The gathering was scattered and in a conservative estimate did not meet double digits in thousands. Although exuberance and zeal of the people was high, it did not match the usual spirit of the party worker in this core point of the City, which is considered invincible citadel of the PML-N.

The people of all walks of life participated in the rally where the participants not only criticised the federal government for ensuing prolonged power outages in Punjab but also chanted full throated slogans of Go-Zardari Go. Women and children also participated in rally from Muslim Masjid to Bhaati, about three furlong distance, which was decorated with posters, banners, hoarders and the PML-N flags. The party workers reached the venue from various parts of the city through buses, wagons, motorcycles, motorcars, jeeps and bicycles. At some locations camps and water tanks were also installed.

Hamza Shahbaz along with PML-N City President Pervez Malik, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Rana Mashood Ahmad Khan and party members including Ayaz Sadiq, Marghoob Ahmad, Naseem Ahmad Bhutta, Khwaja Imran Nazir, Zaeem Qadri, Khwaja Salman Rafiq, Rana Tajammal Hussain, Ch Shahbaz, Maher Ishtiaq, Yasin and other parliamentarians and advisers to the CM perched on tractor trolley led the rally.

Hamza in his tirade against President Zardari asserted that the president’s days in power were numbered. While cautioning the government of the dire consequences, Hamza said that only Punjab was being made the victim of prolonged power cuts. He amid loud slogans of the crowd blamed the federal government for plundering and looting national wealth and paying no heed to the problems confronted by the masses.

While talking about the N-League efforts to upgrade education sector, Hamza said that laptop distribution among the talented youth of the province was a revolutionary step of the Punjab Government towards the promotion of education. He denounced the federal government for, what he said, running a clique of Alibaba and 40 thieves to carry out worst ever corruption in the history of the country.  Hamza said quite confidently that PML-N would sweep next general elections whereas his uncle Nawaz Sharif would be the prime minister. The rally was concluded by torching effigies of President Zardari whom the party and its supporters believed to be the centre of all problems. The protestors dispersed peacefully after the speech of Hamza. They set tyres on fire as a token of protest on the venue and also in the Anarkali bazaar. A tight security was maintained on the spot with thorough checking and installation of the walk through gates.