LAHORE: Leading a rally to Faisalabad on Sunday evening, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice president Maryam Nawaz said the days of the government that had gone all-out to detain opposition leaders, arrest political workers and block rallies and suppress voices were numbered.
“The government is taking its last breath,” she said.
Attired in a green kameez with the photo of her father and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif printed on it along with the slogan of Vote ko Izzat Do (respect the vote), the PML-N leader told the media before her departure from Jati Umra residence that she wanted to tell the traders, industrialists, workers and labourers of Faisalabad that Maryam Nawaz was coming to them. She had recently announced launch of protest rallies across the country from July 21 to seek ‘justice for her father and for rule of law and freedom of expression’.
Notwithstanding the reports about blockade of roads, party leaders and workers riding scores of cars, jeeps and vans accompanied her during her travel to the industrial city.
Former information minister Pervaiz Rashid said the government earlier blocked roads leading to Mandi Bahauddin where she was scheduled to address a public meeting, but she and her supporters made it to the venue.
He said those conspiring to block the roads were finding themselves trapped in a blind alley as nobody could stop the PML-N workers from joining the Faisalabad rally being led by Maryam Nawaz.
PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was afraid of the rally being taken out to get the former PM released from jail. “Mr Khan is sitting in the US but he is afraid of Nawaz, Shahbaz and Maryam Nawaz,” she said.
She alleged that PML-N workers were being arrested and their houses [in Faisalabad] were being raided by police to frighten the cadres, while roads to Faisalabad were being blocked to foil the rally.
A number of her party workers and supporters thronged the motorway interchange on Sargodha Road to welcome the PML-N leadership on her way to Faisalabad.
Her caravan, however, reached the Faisalabad toll plaza by late Sunday night.
According to the PML-N workers, police raided the houses of various party leaders including former lawmaker Malik Nawaz, former provincial minister Khalil Tahir and others allegedly to stop them from participating in the rally. They said such tactics had been adopted in the era of military dictator Pervez Musharraf.
The wife of party stalwart MNA Rana Sanaullah told reporters that hundreds of PML-N workers had been arrested and party banners removed from roads. She said the administration released water in the park outside their residence only to prevent the people from gathering there in large numbers to listen to their leadership.
Heavy police deployment was seen on roads.
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2019