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Banners in Lahore asking Nawaz Sharif to step down for Shahbaz Sharif

24 July, 2017

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LAHORE: Banners have been put up in several areas of Lahore, especially on the Mall Road, asking Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down in the wake of a damning report by joint investigation team (JIT) against him, and let his brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif take over as the prime minister.

Put up outside the Punjab Assembly building by an organisation that identifies itself as ‘NGO Pakistan’ and carrying names and phone numbers of two of its representatives, Qaisar Raza and Hafiz Tariq, the banners read: “Janay do janay do Mian sahib janay do aur aanay do aanay do Mian Shehbaz Sharif ko aanay do (Let it go Mian sahib [Nawaz Sharif] and let Shahbaz Sharif come).”

When contacted, Qaisar Raza told Daily Times that he and his friend Hafiz Tariq were devotees of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), having affiliation with the party spanning over decades. They claimed that they had also been arrested during ‘Tehreek-e-Nijat’ against Benazir Bhutto’s government in the past.

Qaisar, who by profession is a trader of auto parts, said that he belonged to NA-119, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif’s constituency, and lives in Misri Shah area. He said being true loyalists of the party, they, in good faith, have suggested PM Nawaz Sharif to step down to ‘save’ the party and let Shahbaz Sharif come forward in the current scenario.

When asked about organisation ‘NGO Pakistan’ mentioned on the banners, Qaisar said that they have a good number of local likeminded friends who belong to different walks of life including some welfare and civil society organisations. “That’s why we have named our group ‘NGO Pakistan’ … it’s for facilitation of the general public.”

When asked about their standing within the party, he said that he likes Hamza Shahbaz Sharif and Khawaja Saad Rafique as good leaders.

Punjab government spokesperson Malik Ahmad Khan said that some individuals who have no significant position in the party had fixed the banners without prior permission of the leadership at any level. “The banner had been installed without any prior permission from the district government as per rules. Hence, deputy commissioner has been advised remove these banners immediately. Hopefully, those would be removed very soon.”

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