Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday suggested that the PML-N invite pop star Atif Aslam to lead its rally instead of party Vice President Maryam Nawaz if it really wants to pull a crowd for its October 16 gathering in Gujranwala.
Chaudhry made the suggestion during a TV talk show aired by a private news channel after the other panelist, PML-N’s Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, said that Maryam Nawaz instead of Shahbaz Sharif had been chosen to lead the October 16 rally as she is a “crowd puller”.
The host of the show had been discussing the rise of political players who had landed into leadership positions “without following the process”.
The host had pointed out to Ranjha that his party leader Maryam Nawaz and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto had entered the political foray “by virtue of inheritance”.
When Ranjha was asked why it was that Shehbaz Sharif, a considerably more seasoned politician, was not being asked to lead jalsas, he told the host that “Maryam is a crowd puller”.
“If we look at our political party and we go to [our] political rallies, it’s a fact. If she is a crowd puller, then we want our party to be led by a person, [whose] rallies are attended by people who want to leave their homes [for her] and do not have to be invited. She is a crowd puller,” Ranjha said.
As soon as PML-N leader made the comment, however, Chaudhry couldn’t resist making a wisecrack.
“Why don’t you invite Atif Aslam?”
Ranjha took the comment in stride, saying that “Atif Aslam and others” are not of the “calibre” to bring out people in places like Sargodha and other smaller cities.
But Chaudhry, who was not going to let another opportunity slide, dryly suggested that the PML-N invite popular folk singer Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi instead.
Again, Ranjha took it in stride, noting that Attaullah would be in Mianwali and that he would likely not take up the offer after his experience with the PTI.
PDM rally on October 16
The Pakistan Democratic Movement, formed by the opposition to topple the government, will hold its first public gathering on October 16 in Gujranwala.
The rally is being spearheaded by the main opposition party, the PML-N, which has vowed to hold the gathering no matter “how hard the government pushes to stop it”.
Meanwhile, the government has reiterated that it will not create any hurdles for the opposition as long as the rally is peaceful and abides by the law.