LAHORE: Since the PML-N could not get Turkey-like ‘public reaction’ on the ouster of Nawaz Sharif, the party is now banking on its workers for making the return of the former prime minister to his hometown a ‘historic’ occasion to get the much-needed political mileage in the face of the challenges its government is facing.

The earlier plan of Nawaz returning to Lahore on Sunday (today) through motorway has been put off till Wednesday because the PML-N wants to show its political muscles and the GT Road is the party’s best option for the purpose.

The PML-N workers from across Punjab are being mobilised by the local leadership to reach Lahore and other points to welcome their leader who was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case on July 28.

Most city roads were decorated with welcome banners that read : “A leader does not need any post... as he lives in hearts.” The banners are from the local leaders and ministers as well.

The PML-N has planned to stretch the procession of Nawaz from Islamabad to Lahore over two days -- starting from federal capital on Wednesday and concluding here on Thursday.

Punjab Information Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said the decision to change the programme had been taken on “public pressure”. He said Nawaz Sharif’s journey to Lahore would be completed at least in two days. “Although there are security issues in traveling on the GT Road but Nawaz is a brave leader,” he said.

Since the party rules in Punjab, the opposition Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf has alleged use of state machinery in a bid to make Nawaz’s return to Lahore a ‘historic’ event.

“The Punjab government is using all its resources to make the show (Nawaz’s return to Lahore) a success,” PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan said.

He wondered why the National Assembly Speaker, Ayaz Sadiq, was overseeing the arrangements regarding Nawaz’s return to Lahore. Mr Khan demanded the Supreme Court to take notice of the “illegality”.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2017

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