Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided against the party president, Nawaz Sharif, leading the rally on October 28. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has been chosen for the task.
PML-N, in a meeting held on October 20, decided that “Shahbaz Sharif was capable of countering Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) chairman, Imran Khan’s propaganda against the Sharif brothers”.
The October 28 rally is part of PML-N’s ‘Go Zardari Go’ movement against corruption, loadshedding and rising prices. The first rally was held on October 19 in DG Khan.
Shahbaz will lead the rally from Nasser Bagh to Bhati Chowk, where he is expected to address the public and party workers. He will be the only speaker at the rally.
Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in Turkey, however is expected to address the Faisalabad rally on November 4. The senior Sharif is also expected to visit and address rallies in Hazara, Balochistan and other parts of the county.
According to senior party leaders, MPAs and MNAs of Lahore division have been asked to ensure that there are at least 100,000 people at the rally.
Mian Ghulam Hussain Shahid, PML-N’s Youth Wing chief organiser and Punjab chapter president, has been assigned to bring in young people; Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman and Rana Sanaullah Khan have been assigned to ensure traders’ presence; Prisons Minister Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor and Pir Imran Shah have been tasked with bringing in the Ulema and Malik Nadeem Kamran and Mushtaq Shah, the Labour Wing president have been assigned to bring in labourers.
Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhood Khan and MPA Rana Arshad will try and ensure the presence of students while Zakia Shahnawaz and Shazia Khattak have been assigned to target women workers.
MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Shahbaz’s son, has been tasked with visiting all provincial assembly constituencies in Lahore. He is visiting and addressing four constituencies on average per day to garner support. Party members told The Tribune that the rally is seen as a test for Hamza’s candidature for the post of PML-N’s general secretary. Party members told The Tribune that the rallies are the party’s way of testing the waters. If Nawaz finds public sentiment in his favour, the party may announce a long march in December and stage a sit-in in Islamabad. They said that the sit-in would go on until the central government quits.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2011.