LONDON: PML-N supporters on Sunday staged a protest in London outside the residence of Jemima Goldsmith, the ex-wife of former prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan.

Footage shared on social media showed a throng of PML-N supporters waving flags, holding banners and placards and chanting slogans in favour of their party supremo Nawaz Sharif and against Imran Khan. Police contingents deployed outside Jemima’s home were also seen in the footage.

Separately, PTI supporters also took out demonstrations at London’s Hyde Park. Footage shared by the PTI also showed a protest outside Nawaz Sharif’s Avenfield residence.

PML-N leader Abid Sher Ali had on Thursday first announced that a protest would be held outside Jemima’s London home. He also shared an image bearing her full address and used derogatory language against Imran Khan.

PTI supporters take out rallies at Hyde Park, outside Nawaz Sharif’s Avenfield residence

“Protests outside my house, targeting my children, anti-Semitic abuse on social media ... It’s almost like I’m back in 90s Lahore,” Jemima had said in response to Ali.

Ali had responded to Jemima, holding her former husband responsible for the protest. “He [Imran Khan] has ordered attacks and protests outside [the] homes of his political opponents. He incites hate, homophobia and terrorism on [a] daily basis,” he had said, adding that the protest would be “peaceful and non-violent”.

PTI, PML-N supporters face off

Supporters of the PML-N and PTI had faced off outside Nawaz Sharif’s London residence last Sunday, as one group had celebrated and the other had protested Imran Khan’s ouster after a successful no-confidence vote. A heavy police contingent had stood in a chain between the two groups as they chanted slogans against each other’s leaders.

The morning had started with a few PML-N supporters gathering outside Nawaz Sharif’s Avenfield House residence to celebrate. A stone’s throw away in the green expanses of Hyde Park, hundreds of PTI supporters demonstrated against Imran Khan’s ouster.

Mr Khan’s UK spokesperson Sahibzada Jahangir had in a video message called on the party’s supporters to gather at the park and then march to the US Embassy to register their protest against alleged “foreign interference by America in Pakistan”.

A message circulating in PTI WhatsApp groups had said the purpose of the demonstration was to raise their voice against “regime change” and the Supreme Court’s decision, and to demand free and fair elections through electronic voting as well as the right of overseas Pakistanis to vote.

At the PTI protest, both speakers and members of the crowd had condemned the alleged US role in Imran Khan’s removal, with many saying they believed the letter and conspiracy the PTI chairman spoke of were a reality. Several of Mr Khan’s supporters were also critical of the military establishment and blamed it for his exit.

Although the plan for the PTI crowd was to march to the US Embassy at 2pm, hundreds of people had instead turned towards Park Lane and decided to take their protest to Avenfield House. Police had rushed to the site to create a divide between the PTI demonstrators and PML-N workers who were already outside Nawaz Sharif’s residence.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2022

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