All eyes are fixed on the landing of former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz in Lahore likely on July 13, 2018. Mystery shrouds former prime minister’s intentions and PML-N’s strategy on how to welcome their leaders amid media reports that both convicts would be transferred to Adiala jail soon after their arrival. Apparently, it is not a proud moment for the former premier. Rather he is returning home as a convict who has to appeal against the charges of corruption for which he, his daughter and son-in-law have been awarded imprisonment by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference. The return of Nawaz and his daughter is inevitable as they have to secure bail relief by showing up in the court. Even if they are imprisoned, they can portray the punishment as discrimination to win sympathy vote. Nevertheless, Nawaz Sharif is hoping for an unprecedented welcome from his diehard supporters in the country and is busy trying to prove himself the real savior for the masses. There is a strong possibility that the PML-N will try to demonstrate street power upon arrival of their leaders as Mian Shahbaz Sharif has announced to hold a rally in Lahore to accord historic welcome to their leaders on Friday.
Obviously, the PML-N would opt for street agitation either both leaders succeed in coming out of the airport or taken away straight to the Adiala jail. One can say that through street protests, the PML-N leadership will try to achieve a number of political motives. One possible explanation for this street adventure can be an effort by the PML-N to impress its political opponents and show them that Nawaz is still a favourite public leader. The PML-N can gauge its popularity among the public through this street show. Second, as the general elections are approaching fast, the PML-N wants to keep its vote bank intact and by reaching the general public, it would try to win the confidence of the public.
However, there are some negative aspects as well as some serious ramifications of this adventurism. There is a possibility of clashes between the supporters of the PML-N and PTI besides protests can lead to law and order situation in the city. In fact through his campaign, Nawaz would try to incite the general public against the judiciary. He is playing with fire by directly attacking the judges and questioning their qualification to award him imprisonment. It is very ironical to note that in 2009, Sharif was fighting for the judiciary, when he headed a long march for the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and in 2018 he is fighting against the judges, who gave a verdict against him. It seems a battle for his survival in politics. By showing a large following on the streets he wants to re-establish his hold but the odds are heavily tilted against him. As such this show is not limited to street rallies; rather the PML-N’s survival hinges upon these protests. Let’s see whether people accord him a rosy welcome and create chaotic situation or the day passes peacefully culminating in the imprisonment of both Nawaz Sharif and his daughter.