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PESHAWAR: Reacting to the conviction of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt retired Safdar by an accountability court, the party’s workers staged demonstrations in Charsadda, Khyber Agency and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against the verdict, describing it an attempt to keep PML-N out of the election process.

Immediately after the verdict, the PML-N workers gathered outside the Peshawar Press Club, holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the court’s decision.

The protesters were led by former MPA Sobia Shahid, provincial vice president Rashid Mehmood and PK-67 candidate Fazalullah Daudzai. The protesters also set on fire the flag of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and shouted slogans against Imran Khan. They also raised the party’s slogan of ‘give respect to vote’.

The protesters alleged that the PML-N leaders had committed no crime but they were convicted under a well-planned conspiracy to keep the party out of polls.

“We reject the court’s decision. We will agitate as and when the top leadership issues instructions to us,” warned a protester.

“Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz are in the hearts of people and no one can remove them from political scene through force,” Sobia Shahid said.

During a demonstration in Charsadda, enraged PML-N leaders and workers set tyres on fire and blocked road for vehicular traffic at Farooq Azam Chowk. They also announced a mass arrest movement against the court decision.

Addressing the protesters, PML-N district president Mian Humayun Shah Kakakhel and others alleged that the verdict was unjust.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2018