ISLAMABAD – As the Supreme Court of Pakistan is set to announce the verdict of landmark Panama case in coming weeks, mysterious banners in favour of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif have been put up in the provincial capital.
The banners put up outside the Lahore Press Club at Shimla Pahari by ‘NGO Pakistan’ on Sunday urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down and let his younger brother, serving as Punjab’s chief minister to fill the slot.
The banners read: “Janay do janay do Mian sahib (Nawaz Sharif) janay do, aur aanay do aanay do Mian Shahbaz Sharif ko aanay do (Mian sahib let it go (step down) and allow Shahbaz Sharif to take over the top slot).”
When the local leadership of ruling PML-N was apprised of the banners, these were removed. The party distanced itself from the NGO and termed the banners “mischievous”.
PML-N Lahore president Pervaiz Malik clarified that those behind the banners were not part of the party.
‘The whole party is united under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif. We will not let any conspiracy against the party succeed,” he vowed.
On the other hand, Lahore Deputy Mayor Waseem Qadir hinted at the role of any intelligence agency behind the banners saying the banners were displayed to create differences (among the leaders of the party).
“It looks a work by some agency to create differences in the PML-N,” he maintained.
It bears mentioning that the banners were displayed at a time when a three-member bench of the apex court has reserved the verdict in the Panama case.
The coalesced opposition has already demanded the premier to set down in the wake of the report submitted by the high-powered Joint Investigation Team, however, the premier stood his ground and reiterated that not a single charge of corruption could be proved against him and so he would retain the post.
The case of banners is Pakistani politics is not unique in its type. Earlier, last year, an NGO displayed banners urging the then chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif to continue serving the country as his term was nearing an end.
Moreover, days before the supreme court announced the Panama verdict, in April, banners were put up in Lahore by members of ruling party expressing support for premier Nawaz Sharif.
The banners were put up in different parts of the city with most of them in National Assembly constituency NA-125, the electoral area from where Khawaja Saad Rafique secured 123416 votes and was declared successful in General Elections 2013.