Hundreds take to streets to ‘end N’

LAHORE: Adorned with party flags, banners and posters, Mall Road had a jubilant atmosphere as activists gathered to support their political parties during an anti-government public gathering on Wednesday.

The venue had seating arrangements starting at Charring Cross, in front of the Punjab Assembly, where the stage was set for the political leadership. At the same time, seating arrangements stretched to Regal Chowk. Men, women and children were seen wearing different outfits and showing their affiliations to political parties.

Flags and banners of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) could be seen all around the venue of the demonstration. People started arriving in small groups with local leaders and party flags while chanting slogans in favour of their parties and against the government.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a PTI activist named Imran said he came to get rid of the ‘tyrant government’ of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

He claimed that the country needed change and it could only come if the people got rid of the current rulers. “We stand by our leader, who has promised change for Pakistan,” he added.

Another supporter of PAT, Abdul Aziz, said that he was at the venue to seek justice for the people martyred in Model Town by the “Gullu Butts” of the Punjab government. He said the PAT leadership, especially Dr Tahirul Qadri, had been struggling to get justice and he was there to support them.

Though the markets in the surrounding areas were closed for the protest, roadside vendors could be seen everywhere on The Mall.

One of the street vendors, Jamal, said he came for the sit-in and to see the protest. “There are thousands of people here and I made an extra buck by selling edibles.”

Schools, colleges, universities, shops and markets in and around the area were closed down and notifications, by relevant departments, were issued to this effect a day earlier.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2018.

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