Hamza sets up cell to monitor long march

Tells leaders party tickets will be conditional with maximum presence in the march

Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Hamza Shehbaz has established a special cell to monitor the long march of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) that has already been announced by the opposition parties.

Both Hamza Shehbaz and Maryam Nawaz will lead the long march from Lahore to Islamabad, which will enter the federal capital after passing through GT Road in three days.

Hamza is taking keen interest in its preparation, holding back-to-back meetings in Lahore to make the power show successful. He has held meetings with the MPAs hailing from Lahore, PML-N minority wing, labor wing and women wing during the last couple of days at the party’s secretariat in Model Town.

On Monday, he chaired a meeting of the party’s presidents and general secretaries of each district of Punjab through video link in which he directed the party leaders to ensure maximum presence of workers in the long march that will start from Lahore on Thursday.

PML-N Punjab General Secretary Sardar Awais Laghari and Additional General Secretary MPA Zeeshan Rafique also participated in the meeting from Lahore.

According to the insiders, Hamza tasked every MPA with bringing 1,200 to 1,500 people with him in the long march. Every Union Council (UC) Chairman was directed to bring 800 to 1,000 people with him. The woman MPAs on reserved seats were also directed to bring 25 women with them. The sources told this scribe that Hamza told the party leaders that their ticket in the next elections would be conditional on their presence in the long march.

The long march will enter the federal capital on March 27, the same day when the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also plans to hold a public rally in Islamabad just ahead of voting on the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan. The participants of the long march will have night stays at Gujranwala, Sarai-i-Alamgir and Rawalpindi before entering Islamabad.

The party has already announced that both Hamza and Maryam will lead the long march from Lahore to Islamabad. “It will be a lethal combination that both Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz will be leading the march. Maryam Nawaz is a crowd puller and Hamza Shehbaz is an expert at ensuring the logistics for such events,” a PML-N leader told this scribe.

It is worth mentioning here that Maryam Nawaz has led massive rallies in the past while proving herself a crowd puller in the absence of her father. She has led successful rallies in Lahore, Faisalabad, Pakpattan, Sargodha, Multan and Bahawalpur in the past. And, Hamza Shehbaz has monitored the by-elections in Punjab as he is considered an expert of managing such affairs. He also used to monitor the by-elections in the past from 90-Shahrah office of the chief minister when his father, Shehbaz Sharif, was heading the province.

“The people who are annoyed with the rampant inflation will join us in large numbers. We’ll leave from Model Town under the leadership of Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz on Thursday,” said PML-N Lahore General Secretary Khawaja Imran Nazir. “Our first reception will be at Data Darbar and then the leadership will address the participants after reaching Shahdara. There will be a massive jalsa in Gujranwala where the participants will spend the night,” he added.