News Analysis |
The hearing of PML-N President saw several ugly scenes of rowdyism by mainly PML-N workers. Several PML-N workers gathered outside the court ahead of Sharif’s appearance and tried to enter the building which led to a clash with police, who resorted to baton charge to bring the situation under control.
The hue and cry raised by the protestors caused the Judge hearing the case to remark that it would be difficult to proceed with the case in the presence of so much noise. To which Shahbaz Sharif stated that these were not his party workers but the “common Man” who had come to protest the “injustices” meted out to his leader.
The Punjab govt & Minister of Interior have already pointed out that most violence on roads, between Gujranwala & Lahore, was done by PMLN workers and not the TLP.
According to a NAB notice sent to the former Punjab chief minister on January 16, 2018, Sharif is accused of ordering the cancelation of award of contract of Ashiana-i-Iqbal to successful bidder Chaudhry Latif and Sons, and engineering the award of the contract to Lahore Casa Developers, a proxy group of Paragon City Private Limited, which resulted in the loss of approximately Rs193 million.
He is also accused of directing the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) to assign the Ashiana-i-Iqbal project to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), resulting in the award of the contract to Lahore Casa Developers, causing a loss of Rs715m and the ultimate failure of the project.
Read more: Was PML-N secretly supporting TLP?
The use of mass agitation and violence by the PML-N seems to have become a strategy of the party as it begins to lose its power and prestige. Its attempts to paralyze parliamentary proceedings through rowdyism have fizzled out and sympathetic elements in the bureaucracy are fast becoming powerless.
While the PML-N seems to be on the back foot on street power– which was seen in its extremely lackluster protest in Lahore to save its leader Nawaz Sharif on his return– it is apparent that the party has resorted to it in the face of recent developments. The most significant of these developments is the rise of the Tehreek-e-Labaik party.
From national Assembly to press conferences, PMLN leadership in its desperate efforts has been bashing NAB for allegedly being used by the government against the party and now DG NAB Lahore’s fake degree case is also being exploited.
In the recent protests by the party against the acquittal of Asia Bibi from Blasphemy charges, hundreds of protestors across the country engaged in vandalism and violence. Over a billion dollars in losses were reported as the state was hesitant in using force in order not to aggravate the situation.
However, in fact, the TLP was not the only culprit. The Punjab govt & Minister of Interior have already pointed out that most violence on roads, between Gujranwala & Lahore, was done by PMLN workers and not the TLP. It can be asserted that the PML-N has calculated that through the use of mass agitation and violence, the PML-N can pressure both the judiciary and NAB in order to stave off accountability.
It already has launched a second front through the media against the Accountability watchdog. From national Assembly to press conferences, PMLN leadership in its desperate efforts has been bashing NAB for allegedly being used by the government against the party and now DG NAB Lahore’s fake degree case is also being exploited.
It appears that the PML-N has decided to use the tool of violent street protest alongside the media to stave off its accountability. The party is set to become even more desperate as Shahbaz is likely to be joined by his elder brother Nawaz Sharif after Monday.