Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is set to arrive in Pakistan today (July 13) but even rival politicians believe the way he is being treated is not right.
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took to Twitter to write, “Security personnel have been deployed across Lahore, especially at the Allama Iqbal International Airport and the authorities are ready to pick up the former premier and his daughter the second they step foot on Pakistani soil. [I] understand the legal grounds for arrest of Nawaz Sharif after NAB conviction but on what grounds are workers and leaders being arrested? Why is Lahore under siege ? Right to peaceful protest is fundamental for democracy.”
Former Sindh information minister and PPP leader Sharjeel Inam Memon has said that his party is not happy with the way Nawaz is being treated. The PPP’s Saeed Ghani took to Twitter to say, “All political differences aside, I strongly condemn the crackdown against PML-N workers in Punjab”.
Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf said that he should not be compared to Nawaz. “I am not looting the country,” he told SAMAA TV. “These people are dragging the country to the grave.”
PML-N Senator Mushahid Hussain said that his party will not be withdrawing from the 2018 general elections. He added that their political rivals want the party to back out from the polls.
He went on to say that Nawaz is getting more popular day by day. “Many believed that he would not be returning to Pakistan,” he said. He said there are 10,000 policemen on duty and 2,000 Rangers personnel on duty and lamented that the only thing left is to impose martial law.
PML-N leaders upset
Former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, who is also a PML-N leader, wrote on Twitter that the “use of Rangers in raids to arrest PML-N workers is condemnable. The CAF headed by senior army officers is not supposed to be used for political purposes. The mandate of the Rangers in Punjab is to carry out operations against terrorists. Are political workers now classified as terrorists?”
Former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah claimed that the Punjab Police is being pressured into arresting PML-N workers. He said that party activists were taken into custody despite assurances that they would not be arrested.
Sanaullah said that everyone should get out of their homes to welcome the former PML-N supremo and his daughter.
PTI speaks out
While other political leaders condemned Nawaz’s treatment, PTI chief Imran Khan linked tensions along the border to Nawaz’s troubles in a tweet.
Beginning to wonder why whenever Nawaz Sharif is in trouble, there is increasing tension along Pakistan’s borders and a rise in terrorist acts? Is it a mere coincidence?
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) July 13, 2018
His reaction came shortly after PTI Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry held a press conference where he said the party wants transparent and peaceful elections.
PTI leader Asad Umar also took to Twitter on the matter. “As an opponent I should say the PML-N should be allowed as much freedom as Nawaz Sharif allowed political opponents in Model Town and Islamabad but unlike Nawaz Sharif I actually believe in democracy. The PML-N should have freedom of assembly as guaranteed in the Constitution,” he wrote.