Hundreds of protesters took to the streets on Friday in support of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani a day after he was convicted of contempt of court earlier by the Supreme Court.
Around 200 Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) activists staged a protest outside the Lahore Press Club where they hoisted party flags and chanted slogans against the judiciary.
“We are with the prime minister who restored the Constitution and reinstated the present judiciary,” one of the banners read.
Federal Minister Sameena Khalid Ghurki while addressing protesters said that besides the National Assembly speaker, no one has the right to unseat the premier.
She said that instead of giving a lesson in ethics, the PML-N should move a no-confidence movement against the prime minister in the house.
PPP Deputy Parliamentary Leader in the Punjab Assembly Shaukat Basra, while addressing a news conference, said that the court’s ruling was in clear violation of the Constitution, so the judges should immediately resign.
Protests both against and for the Supreme Court’s verdict continued for a second day in Multan, the prime minister’s hometown.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers as well as members of civil society and lawyers separately organised protests in the city in favour of the verdict and also burnt an effigy of the prime minister for disrespecting the Supreme Court.
PTI leader Tariq Naeemullah said the Supreme Court’s verdict was like a cool breeze for the people of Pakistan. Lawyers also vowed to support the apex court and said that they would stage a long march in this regard.
On the other hand, rallies were also taken out in favour of the prime minister by PPP supporters. Participants vowed to stand by the prime minister through thick and thin.
In Faisalabad, hundreds of PPP activists staged a rally to express solidarity with Prime Minister Gilani, during which they chanted slogans against the PML-N and the Punjab chief minister.
Protests in Sindh
PPP workers poured out on the streets in large numbers in several cities of Sindh, including Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas, Tando Muhammad Khan, Badin and Tharparker.
Protesters chanted slogans in support of the beleaguered prime minister: “Teri Raza, Meri Raza, Yousuf Raza, Yousuf Raza”.
Leaders from different political wings of the party reminded the judiciary that the PPP was at the front of the movement launched for their restoration.
Meanwhile, an attempt of self-immolation by a few workers of the Sindh Peoples Student Federation outside the Hyderabad Press Club was thwarted.
In Peshawar, angry protesters also lashed out at the judiciary, the Sharif brothers and PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
PPP senior leaders, including former minister for states and frontier regions (Safron) and MNA Najamudin Khan and other leaders also participated in the rally.
PPP activists in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) also staged a demonstration in favour of the prime minister in Mohmand Agency.
The protest was led by PPP-Fata president Malik Waris Khan Afridi, who said that “tribal people favour prime minister of Pakistan because he had issued orders for reforms and development projects in Fata.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2012.