Maryam whips up enthusiasm for Nawaz’s return

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• Says PML-N supreme leader on return will ‘go to Jati Umra’; claims he faces false cases
• Notes those who ousted Nawaz are now ‘lying in dustbin of history’

LAHORE: PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz on Sunday said that Nawaz Sharif, who is expected to land in Lahore on October 21 after almost four years of self-imposed exile, was ousted many times in the past, but each time he returned to power corridors “stronger than before”.

Her remarks that when Nawaz Sharif would go to Jati Umra to find his mother and wife missing made many observers guess that she was hinting at the ‘guarantee’ given to PML-N that the ex-premier would not be arrested on his return.

The remarks came in contrast with caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar’s recent statement regarding Mr Sharif, saying he wanted the law “to take its course”.

Ms Nawaz addressed separate gatherings in Lahore and Gilgit in a bid to mobilise party workers for Mr Sharif’s reception.

In Lahore, the PML-N senior vice president spoke at a public meeting in Shahdara — the first in a series of events being planned to whip up support ahead of Mr Sharif’s arrival from London.

Making clear the change in the narrative the party is building in the run-up to elections, she said it was not just an individual but the “prosperity of the country is returning home on October 21”.

“It will not be the return of an individual to the country. There will be the return of prosperity and hope for the country on October 21. Peace will return and the price hike will be eliminated on October 21.”

Before the change in the narrative, the former prime minister had been insisting on seeking accountability of the ex-army generals and superior court judges who had ousted him from power in 2017, leading to “political and economic instability” in the country.

Ms Nawaz said that when Mr Sharif was last dismissed from power, the country was “robbed of prosperity and peace”.

Recalling that her father was ousted many times in the past, she pointed out that each time he returned to power “corridors stronger than before”.

She said that those who had tried to snatch everything from Nawaz Sharif and make an example of him have become a sign of warning themselves and are witnessing Mr Nawaz’s homecoming.

She said those who ousted Nawaz Sharif from power were now “lying in the dustbin of history” — an apparent reference to Gen Bajwa and former chief justice Saqib Nisar — while people were fervently engaged in receiving Nawaz Sharif back home.

Gilgit gathering

Ms Nawaz also spoke at a party gathering in Gilgit via video link. She requested the participants to receive Nawaz Sharif in their traditional attire and become part of the “historic welcome” to be accorded to the party’s supreme leader upon his arrival.

“Had Nawaz Sharif not been unjustly punished, people would not have faced hyperinflation today,” she said, adding that Mr Sharif would provide education, employment, skills, and business opportunities to the youth of Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltistan, as well as laptops and scholarships.

The PML-N leader said the former prime minister would also initiate development projects in the region and added he “will bring peace to Pakistan and get rid of terrorism” from the country.

Demand for reorganisation

The PML-N gathering in Gilgit was organised by a rival group of former chief minister Hafeezur Rehman which claimed that his tenure as the head of the PML-N chapter in Gilgit had expired. The rival group blamed Mr Rehman for destroying the party in the region and demanded its reorganisation.

PML-N leader Akbar Taban said the party has “mobilised GB workers to participate in the reception” of Mr Sharif upon his arrival in Lahore. The PML-N also inaugurated its central secretariat in Gilgit.

Jamil Nagri in Gilgit also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2023