- Punjab CM’s son began criticising sit-in protesters during speech on World Tourism Day when crowds forced him to cut short address and leave venue
- Participants slam politicians for not letting go of any opportunity to hit back at political rivals
Hamza Shahbaz, son of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and a member of the National Assembly of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was left red-faced on Saturday when during his address to mark World Tourism Day, crowds started chanting ‘Go Nawaz Go’ slogans forcing him to cut short his speech.
As the central leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz started delivering his speech at Al-Hamra Hall, he started speaking against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek sit-ins in Islamabad to overthrow the incumbent government. Suddenly a woman interrupted him and started chanting ‘Go Nawaz Go.’
Undeterred in her chants and stirring the crowd, ‘Shame shame’ could be heard echoing in the hall as Hamza was forced to cut short his speech and dash towards the exit door.
As Hamza walked towards the exit door, the entire hall rose up to chant ‘Go Nawaz Go’.
Hamza Shahbaz was the chief guest of the event and was expected to address the crowd at 11am but started his speech at 1:30pm, agitating the crowd.
Muhammad Mustafa Ahmed, a participant, told Pakistan Today that the crowd had been waiting for the chief guest, Hamza Shahbaz, since 8am.
“Not only was he (Hamza) late, he ignored the topic of tourism and started criticising the protesting leaders, Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri,” he said, adding that this showed the impact of the protesters on the minds of leaders of the ruling party.
Munaza Ahmed, another participant, said that the government had nothing else to offer than criticising their political opponents.
“The government is least concerned about the plight of Pakistanis. People are committing suicides everyday because of poverty and the ever increasing costs of living, including excessive bills being sent for electricity, yet our leaders are just focused on perpetuating their rule,” she said, adding that political leaders should avoid making political statements at apolitical events.
“Just today a newspaper reported that there had been a 50 per cent decrease in foreign tourism in Pakistan this year due to terrorism and natural calamities but rather than showing concern over the dip in figures, our politicians are focused on criticising their rivals at every forum,” said Shahbaz Khan, a mountaineer from Islamabad.
This is not the first time a PML-N minister has been heckled by the crowds.
Earlier, during Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal’s speech at Preston University, a student chanted ‘Go Nawaz Go.’ However, Iqbal was not perturbed and continued his speech, while the student was later expelled.