ISLAMABAD - With the PTI’s decision to chose Lahore as the next venue of its protest instead of Islamabad, the party this time wants to hit Sharifs’ only with one point agenda in the wake of Panama leaks as part of its strategy to get much support from the stronghold of PML-N in the next general elections.

It is being widely believed within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that it is the golden time to ‘ expose’ Sharif family while sitting in Lahore and presenting the PTI as the replacement of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Punjab, where it holds power, for the next general elections, discussions with some senior PTI leaders revealed.

After the revelations of Panama Papers that has rocked a number of capitals of the world, Chairman Imran Khan has announced the ‘Raiwind March’ if his demand of formation of a judicial commission under the chief justice of Pakistan could not be fulfilled to probe allegations of offshore wealth possessed by the prime minister and his family members.

A question remains in the minds of many people as to why Khan this time chose Raiwind in Lahore, the place of palatial resident of Sharif family, instead of Islamabad as he most of the time in the past had been giving protest calls in the capital to put more pressure on the government for the acceptance of his demands in connection with the allegations of rigging in the last general elections.

“Politics is a game of ‘image building’ and it matters in the elections very much,” said a senior PTI leader. “We were in a good position in Punjab during the last general elections, but good image building of PM Nawaz Sharif and his family made their party successful to get more seats there,” he viewed. This is the reason that PTI this time has decided to criticise Sharif family as much as it can on the issue of Panama leaks, he said and called it a genuine issue that had captured the attention of every country in the world.

In addition to that, a feeling within the party is that by giving protest calls in front of the parliament, it had been facing criticism from certain quarters that perhaps PTI was instrumental in weakening the democracy. The party wants to move ahead now with care and in a mature way.

A PTI insider said that the party was expecting early elections if the government failed to get investigated allegations against it as revealed by Panama Papers from an independent and powerful commission. “We are starting our protest movement as part of the preparations for the election campaign,” he said and added that early elections always benefited the sitting government.

The outgoing government will say that it could not find enough time to work for the masses. “So in case of early elections, we want to keep ourselves well prepared for such a situation.”

A participant of the other day’s meeting of senior PTI leadership quoting Imran Khan said it would be the failure of the people of Pakistan if this time they could not force the government for early elections on Panama leaks. So PTI wants to fully capitalise on this issue.

However PTI, unlike the past, has decided not to take a solo flight. It is contacting all the political parties. The deputy parliamentary leader of PTI Shah Mahmood Qureshi yesterday met with the leadership of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) to get their support for PTI’s protest movement on Panama Papers. He will also meet leadership of PML-Q and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) this week for the same purpose. PTI this time has decided that it will hold only Raiwind March if some parties agreed to join its protest.

PTI’s insiders insist that party’s intra-party polls had been postponed for an indefinite period because the close aides to the chairman had been suggesting him such deferment till the next general elections. Some PTI leaders viewed that as the intra-party polls were causing internal rifts so they could not afford such polls till the next general elections.

Zahid Hussain, known political analyst, said PTI had decided to change the protest venue because this time it had more clear issue in its hand. “It can mobilise the people in the stronghold of PML-N unlike its previous protests where it had been taking solo flights.” The other opposition parties are also united on the issue of Panama Papers and PTI can get support to make its protest successful because it is making contacts with them, he said.

On the other hand, Imran is leaving for UK over the weekend; he will also meet the Pakistani community there to get their feedback on the issue and will launch his protest movement keeping in view their response, sources in PTI claimed.