LAHORE - The call of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to mark October 12 (Saturday) as black day received a very cold response in their bastion where no formal meeting, rally, seminar or sitting was organised by the party command.

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The ruling PML-N had given a call to condemn the action of former general Pervez Musharraf to topple the democratically elected government of Nawaz Sharif on October 12, 1999, and observe the day as black day.

The PML-N ministers, MNAs, office bearers and workers in their speeches mentioned the painful incident of October 12, 1999, when Musharraf arrested Nawaz Sharif, Shahaz Sharif and others and sent them behind bars, but in the events which were officially organised not to observe the day but for other purposes.

It was the first black day the PML-N observed while in power after a gap of 14 years, but no meeting or protest was held to condemn the act of the dictator who is nowhere but in the country though under house arrest. The people got the impression that the party was no more interested in highlighting the October 12 coup and the miseries the Sharifs family and the party leaders faced. And that it also did not want to dub the coup as a ‘black chapter’ in the national history the appellations the party leaders have been constantly imputing to the dictatorial action.

In the recent past when the matter of instituting cases against former military dictator Pervez Musharraf was being debated at public and intellectual level, the party leadership clearly took a stand not to take the 10/12 action to the court of law, but insisted that the dictator should be tried for high treason for subverting the Constitution by introducing the November 3, 2007, PCO and imposing emergency and not for violating oath of his office and disobeying orders of the executive head of the state on October 12.

Lahore, the provincial metropolis and the political hub of the PML-N that also houses the main secretariat of the party and is an abode of the party’s top leadership went without any shout against the military coup which is quite significant for political observers. They feel the way the PML-N discreetly and quietly distanced itself from the dictatorial regime of General Ziaul Haq, it is also on the course to take a U-turn on Musharraf’s coup.

When contacted, PML-N City President Pervez Malik said the party leaders and workers observed black day on their own as no event was organised at the party level. While dispelling the impression that the day was not observed, he said many resolutions, including one in the city office, were passed on the day. He condemned Musharraf’s coup and said the party at no level could accept the dictatorial action.

A party source, on condition of not being named, said PML-N was pursuing the policy of ‘looking forward’, taking up the issues and doing politics of issues instead of wasting time and energy on the past events. He said the party had many serious national tasks in hand like the power crisis, the shattered economy, terrorism and law and order, so it had no time to cry over the past events.