In an effort to fight off the opposition’s onslaught in the wake of the Panama leaks, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to mobilise the masses and organise public gatherings at ground-breaking and inauguration ceremonies for different mega projects.
The plan is a part of a three-pronged strategy devised by the government to fend off pressure from opposition parties, particularly the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) which is threatening street protests. The plan is being worked out to counter the opposition at legal, political and administrative fronts.
As part of its legal strategy, the government has written a letter to the Supreme Court chief justice to form a broad-based but open-ended commission. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will deal with administrative matters in case of public protests.
However, the PML-N’s political strategy includes Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visits to provinces and addresses to public gatherings. The first such visit will start next week from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), where the PTI is in power.
The PM will address a groundbreaking ceremony of a section of Hazara motorway project in Manshera on April 28. This will be followed by public meetings in Bannu in connection with the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He will also hold public gatherings along the Sukkur-Multan section of Karachi-Lahore motorway, within the next three weeks.
The focus of the prime minister’s speeches will be on development work, sources in the ruling party told The Express Tribune. Nawaz will be highlighting different projects the government has already launched and announce more projects for these areas, with a focus on road infrastructure.
Besides the prime minister, other leading names of his party will also mobilizing the masses by visiting their constituencies. The cabinet members will also aggressively defend the government in media. The tone has already been set by the prime minister in his address to the nation on Friday.
Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid confirmed the prime minister’s plan to visit provinces, but called it a routine activity. “The prime minister is scheduled to perform ground breaking ceremonies of different projects like an expressway in the K-P, Thar coal power project, and some CPEC projects.
“There is nothing new in it. He[Nawaz] had been doing so regularly in the past. He could not do that for the past few months due to other official engagements,” Rashid said. According to the minister, the plan for these visits is being finalised and it will soon be shared with the media.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2016.
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