The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to forgo any future power shows in Lahore following a severe backlash on its recent main worker conventions-cum-rallies in an apparent bid to avoid further embarrassment.
The party’s attempts to drum up support and build momentum for a grand showdown on October 21 through rallies and workers’ conventions have proved to be counterproductive.
From failing to gather enough people for an event at Shahrah to being mocked for resorting to old tactics of luring people to a costly rally at Thokhar Niaz Baig with promises of financial rewards and free food, the events ended up causing damage to PML-N.
Both events were overseen by the party’s chief organiser, Maryam Nawaz.
Seemingly, in light of the series of embarrassments, a decision was made on Monday to suspend any future rally programs so as to enable MNAs, MPAs, and local bodies leaders to prioritise their own preparations, rather than being burdened with worries of organising rallies for leadership.
The party had initially announced workers convention in all of Lahore’s constituencies.
A leader praised the party for making a wise decision that would relieve the Lahore district leaders of a heavy burden, stating that given the prevailing inflation, public sentiment was not in anyone’s favour.
Referring to a disappointing event hosted by former MNA Malik Riaz in Shahdara, they too had high hopes for former MNA Saif Khokhar’s rally.
He said that initially, the visual from that Thokhar rally allowed them to take a sigh of relief but the social media coverage ripped apart the impression of the grand show.
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He said that Saif was their best bet for many different reasons, one of which was his deep pockets. Others despite being way more popular in their constituencies won’t be able to bring in a managed crowd especially those in purely urban areas.
The party leader pointed out that hosting worker conventions by themselves was not a problem. However, if Maryam or Shehbaz Sharif were to preside over them, it would become a matter of life and death for the organiser, given a 360-degree hawkish media coverage.
However, former MNA from Lahore, Waheed Alam, stated that the decision to cancel the worker’s conventions was made at their request. He clarified that it was the MNAs, MPAs, chairman, and councilors who preferred to concentrate on a door-to-door campaign instead, rather than being bogged down with preparation for workers convention.
He said that the party had informed them about the decision on Monday. The ticket holders from NA and PA have the option to organise a workers convention, but ultimately, the leaders will make the final decision.