LAHORE: It was a business as usual in Lahore on Friday with little events of jubilation and protest over the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister.
No big gathering from either the PTI or the PML-N was witnessed anywhere in the city.
Some PML-N leaders had predicted a Turkey-like reaction in case Nawaz Sharif was disqualified whereas PTI leaders had claimed that thousands would be on roads celebrating the departure of the prime minister.
“It is surprising for me that no strong reaction has come from either party in the wake of the Panama Papers case verdict. Perhaps the party workers may come to roads on their leader’s call but the public is least concerned to the issue,” shopkeeper Shuja Ahmed said.
Both parties held over a dozen rallies each in the city. PML-N workers burnt tyres and blocked the roads on different points, including Shimla Paharai, Ferozpur Road and Shahdara Town.
A good number of PML-N MPAs and local body leaders gathered at Naseerabad on Ferozpur Road to watch the Supreme Court verdict on big screens. MPA Waheed Gul fell unconscious after hearing the verdict. Some PML-N women workers also broke into tears. Gull was shifted to the Services Hospital where he was admitted for treatment.
“The decision for us is shocking and unbelievable,” PML-N MPA Rana Arshad told Dawn. He said the leadership had stopped the workers from hitting roads otherwise the party could have shown its strength.
“Those who came to roads did so on their own to vent out their anger,” he said and added that the PML-N had accepted the court decision.
PTI workers took to streets to express their joy. The activists dancing to the tune of drums appeared in Lalak Chowk, on Walton Road, Shahdara Mor as well as at various party offices and chanted slogans against Nawaz Sharif like “gone, Nawaz, gone” and for PTI chief like “prime minister Imran Khan”.
They distributed sweets among the passersby disturbing traffic on roads. The Insaf Students Organisaion held a festival at Garden Town office of the PTI, while celebrations continued in Lalak Chowk and other areas late in the evening.
Workers of the PPP also offered sweets to each other and danced to the beat of drums to express their joy at the ouster of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister for the third time.
Their main gathering was at the residence of Lahore chapter president Azizur Rehman Chan.
Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2017