LAHORE - The PML-N workers in the City registered a very low key protest on the conviction verdict against the former Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son in law, Capt (r) Safdar.
The life in City remained as usual and at nowhere a notable public agitation was seen, although the administration had deployed the police and the law-enforcers at public and commercial sites as well as outside the election offices of the PML-N candidates.
It appeared that the people were disinterested about what had happened to the leader of a mainstream political party.
Interestingly, no protest was observed at the corner meetings of the N league candidates rather at the party convention in the NA-123 League workers were seen dancing to the tune of drum beats before arrival of Hamza Shehbaz Sharif.
Only a slight gathering was seen outside the Lahore Press Club while a bunch of around three dozen PML-N supporters led by Ch Zulfiqar and Mirza Javed and former MPA Rukhsana were seen raising slogans outside the main Secretariat of the party at Model Town.
It was seen outside the LPC protest the participants were asking the workers to reach the protest venue but they did not receive a warm response as the gathering of N workers continued to be thin.
However, diehard workers of the party showed the same zeal and support for Nawaz Sharif that had appeared hallmark of the PML-N activists during Nawaz Sharif GT Road travel from Islamabad to Lahore after July 28 verdict against him.
“We will still stand with Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and our life and death with this party and the party Quaid Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif”, a worker said at the LPC.
The verdict of nine month long trial announced by an Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir, according to which former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was fined £8 million and his daughter Maryam Nawaz was fined £2 million and both were sentenced 10 years and seven years imprisonment respectively.
The PML-N workers staged protest outside the Lahore Press Club holding the party flags and banners inscribed with ‘Zulm Kay Zabtay Hum Nahi Mantay’ and chanting slogans for Nawaz Sharif.
Muhammad Arshad Butt, coordinator of former Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said: “We are protesting against the one-sided verdict. Ten years imprisonment is not a less punishment to a leader who rendered highly valuable services to the country.”
“My heart goes with Nawaz Sharif and totally reject the verdict against him”, he said.
Ali Azeem, PML-N worker who come from UC-49, NA-125 constituency to show solidarity with his leader termed the verdict discriminatory and said that this verdict will go to even unite the workers to lead the movement for Mian Sahab (Nawaz Sharif) instead of creating disarray in their ranks.
“Our leader asked for seven day delay but the Accountability Court did not give him time and gave verdict under pressure,” Ali said.
He was of the view that Orange Line Metro Train verdict was reserved for more than 100 days and verdict in Sheikh Rashid case was reserved for six month but Nawaz Sharif plea for the seven day extension in announcing the verdict was rejected.
The PML-N women workers were also chanted slogans ‘Mian Tera Ek Ichara, Hazir Hazir Lahu Humara”.
Women workers including Sumaira Komal, Sajida Waeeem Malik, Nargis Mateen, Irum Chaudhry were of the view that the verdict was a sheer discrimination against PML-N and the selective accountability is unacceptable to them at all.
Haroon Baloch, PML-N worker holding PML-N flag said: “Accountability should be out across the board. We have suffered long hours of loadshedding in PPP government but the PML-N government changed the situation and ended not only loadshedding but also terrorism alongwith improving living standard of the people.”
He said that Nawaz Sharif has been targeted for what he did for the people in the form of mega development projects.
Mian Sahib is battling for civilian supremacy and we stand with him, said Haroon.
The majority of the protesting PML-N workers categorically stated they will not boycott the General Elections of 2018.
A 28-year-old young worker of PML-N Atif Bobi said that Nawaz Sharif had done a lot for the youth while his rival Imran Khan failed to bring any new face in electoral politics.
Awais Bahsir from NA-125 constituency said that his leader will return to the country and win the July 25 elections.
FAIZAN ALI WARRAICH