KASUR/LAHORE: As the Lahore district administration allowed the former ruling party to hold a gathering at Minar-i-Pakistan to mark the homecoming of its supreme leader on Oct 21, PML-N leaders on Sunday addressed a party convention in Kasur, in a bid to whip up support for Nawaz Sharif’s return.
Speaking to workers in Mustafabad, PML-N Vice President Hamza Shehbaz said Pakistan will “restart its journey towards progress and prosperity” with the return of the PML-N supreme leader later this week.
“In his address at Minar-i-Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif will give a road map to pull the country out of the economic mess,” Hamza Shehbaz said at a convention hosted by PML-N leader Malik Ahmed Khan.
He said PML-N and its allies saved the country while risking their political capital. Had there been no agreement with the IMF Pakistan would have gone bankrupt, he said, adding that the PTI government brought Pakistan to the verge of default.
He said while the politics of the PML-N revolved around development the PTI led by Imran Khan indulged in politics of hate. He referred to the May 9 incidents to back his point.
Lahore admin grants party permission for Oct 21 gathering; PTI awaits nod for public meeting after proposing alternative venues
Mr Hamza also showed solidarity with the besieged Palestine and urged the global powers to take action to put an end to atrocities committed against the innocent people of Gaza.
Malik Ahmed, who was former aide to ex-PM Shehbaz Sharif, said Oct 21 would not be “an ordinary day in fact this would be the day when the country would start its journey towards glory and prosperity”.
On the other hand, the Lahore district administration granted permission to the PML-N for its “politically all-important” public gathering at Minar-i-Pakistan subject to some 39 conditions, including ensuring all requisite precautionary measures in and around the venue for the safety of participants and the general public.
The PML-N is all set to hold the mass public meeting at the Minar-i-Pakistan — not only to welcome Nawaz Sharif but also to give a befitting reply to the PTI that used the venue to show its massive popularity among the masses. The PTI had also challenged the PML-N to hold a public rally at the venue.
In response to the request for holding a public meeting at Minar-i-Pakistan and the submission of an affidavit by PML-N leader Bilal Yasin to take full responsibility for the public gathering in case of any untoward incident, the deputy commissioner’s office issued an NOC to the party to proceed with their plan of holding the public meeting.
The PML-N has also been advised to obtain separate permission from the administration of the Parks and Horticulture Authority besides paying all dues.
The organisers have been instructed to ensure stage security, security of ladies’ and gents’ enclosures, emergency exits, measures for avoiding/ controlling stampedes and adequate parking through the hiring of private security and volunteers. “Security near and around the pandaal (arena) shall be the responsibility of the organisers,” said the NOC.
Among other conditions, the DC office has also instructed the public meeting organisers that no speeches against constitutional offices, armed forces, and judiciary shall be uttered. The organisers will also not be allowed to force traders to close their businesses. The NOC further said objectionable and offensive slogans shall be prohibited.
PTI awaits nod
On the other hand, there has been no decision regarding a request by the PTI for a public rally in the provincial capital. Initially, the PTI wanted to organise the gathering at the Liberty Roundabout but it was forced to propose other venues after the permission to gather at the roundabout was denied. Other five venues proposed by the PTI included GPO Chowk, PMG Chowk, Nasser Bagh, Mochi Darwaza Ground, and Baba Ground near the sessions court.
The PTI had added the last two venues after the civil administration demanded that the party should hold a public meeting in a spacious location. The PTI had also changed the date of its proposed public meeting from Oct 15 to 19.
The crackdown on the party, meanwhile, continued. The authorities are not even sparing those protesting to express solidarity with the Palestinians — while carrying a PTI flag.
PTI Central Punjab additional general secretary told Dawn that the civil administration was fiercely following and arresting party leaders, workers and supporters. “The civil administration is creating a situation that not a single person could reach the venue if the permission to hold a public meeting in Lahore is granted,” the PTI leader said.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2023