LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz may have its critics in Lahore, but there is little doubt that most of the people are still diehard supporters.
This was evident from the fact that most people on the street met the Supreme Court decision to disqualify the prime minister with disdain. The verdict, and its repercussions, was the one topic that dominated conversation in marketplaces and homes. Whether it was street vendors, rickshaw drivers, eatery owners or tailors, all had one question on their minds: who is the next prime minister of Pakistan?
Many of those in markets and shops also questioned whether the whole Panama sequence of events was a conspiracy against democracy.
People in Gawal Mandi, the hometown of Nawaz Sharif, were going about their daily routine. However, all of them were irritated by, what they called, the derailment of democracy. Most of those who were asked for their opinion agreed that removing an elected prime minister in this manner was not acceptable.
Fayyaz Madani, a pickup driver, could not even pronounce the word “Panama”, but was nonetheless saddened by the news. “Mian Sahab being disqualified over the Pan-mama case is not a good thing and I think we will bear the brunt of it in the form of inflation,” he predicted. “I voted for Nawaz Sharif and will vote for him again. I will not turn to Imran Khan because I just want to support democracy,” he commented. The same were the views of a pan shop owner at Firdous market who believed the decision was not good for democracy. “However, it is the decision of the judiciary so we should accept it.”
He was unsure of what the future held, but was sure Imran Khan’s PTI would not make a difference if it came into power. “He (Imran) could not make a difference in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, while Pakistan Peoples Party has been finished in Punjab. You tell me, what can people do?” he asked.
A bunch of hungry young men, chowing down on Gawal Mandi’s famous naan channa, believed the decision would make little difference. One Rashid Khalid commented that the common people would continue to suffer due to inflation and bad governance.
Zainul Abeen joined the debate and said Nawaz Sharif did little for the interests of the people and that is why there is little reaction from the common man over the Panamagate outcome.
“You can see; this area is a hub of Nawaz-league politics, but everything is open and people are going about their usual business. The only concern is bread and butter for their families,” he said.
Dr Waleed, meanwhile, said the masses suffered in misery and constantly changing faces were no longer acceptable.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2017.