Welcoming Nawaz our ‘constitutional right’, says Shehbaz

Local leaders, councillors told to bring in ‘reinforcements’ to welcome convicted duo

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Staff Report
Lahore

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday reminded state agencies that they had rights, including the right to ‘legally and constitutionally’ welcome the former premier on Lahore airport on his impending arrival.

Talking to a private TV channel on Thursday, Shehbaz said that he was not scared of going to jail, in a reference to a possibility of getting apprehended for violating the Section-144 now imposed on Lahore city. The same had happened while National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials whisked away Capt Safdar from Rawalpindi a few days back.

“Going to welcome our leader and his daughter, who have given so much to the people, is our right and we reserve it. We won’t let any individual or agency quash that,” he said.

The younger Sharif said that he was determined to lead the rally that would eventually culminate at the Lahore airport to welcome Nawaz back to the country. He also assured that the workers and the rally, overall, would be a peaceful one and no damage to government or private property would be caused by PML-N workers.
“We will welcome Nawaz Sharif in peaceful manner. On the other hand massive arrests of workers are raising question on the transparency of election. I will not sit mute over the arrests of workers,” he announced, adding that the election watchdog should take notice of the arrests.

He further said that transparent elections were the need of the hour, and called for a level playing field for all the parties, regardless of their manifestos or voter banks.

Shehbaz also raised caution over the ephedrine case, saying the police might have been harbouring ill intentions towards PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi.

Meanwhile, the preparations for the grand welcome are in full swing, according to media, wherein it has been stated that the party high-ups have chalked out a plan for a ‘power show’ on D-Day, with the party seeking out support from local body representatives and local leaders.

According to the blueprint, each councillor has been tasked with bringing along 50 people as ‘reinforcements’ for the big day. The same target has been increased to 300 for each chairman and vice-chairman.

The apparent bid is to secure more reinforcements for the airport-rally.

However, the reactions to the proposals are mixed. Some have sworn allegiance, others run away from the mere sight of a rally going to an impending arrest.

Currently, the party is battling with troubles as a clear “NO” has been echoed by party ticket holders form South Punjab and other districts. The ticket holders have taken the stance that Saad Rafique, Malik Pervaiz and Khokhar brothers be asked to assemble more people, for they are the ones who have been bestowed with tickets in their families and during the government. They said they even had to wait for months to meet the Sharifs.

In line with several reports, some 300 vehicles have been booked to transport people to the airport for the power show.

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