Dubai: Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan was a momentous occasion for Pakistani social media users living around the world. The minute he and his daughter, Maryam, set out on their journey from London to Lahore, a live commentary of sorts began on multiple social media channels, with users sharing updates, photographs and videos of the two, who were flying back to the country to face lengthy prison sentences.
When they arrived in Abu Dhabi for transit, reports started circulating that their onward flight to Lahore had been delayed. This lead to multiple conspiracy theories, with many tweeps contemplating the reason behind the delay.
Tweep @kashifviews wrote: “Delayed flight may give Nawaz some face saving. Had it reached at scheduled time it would have been embarrassing as hardly any people are near airport. Those being brought from other cities also need time to reach.”
Delayed flight may give Nawaz some face saving. Had it reached at scheduled time (1815) it wud have been embarrassing as hardly any ppl r near airport. Those being brought from other cities also need time to reach— . (@kashifviews) July 13, 2018
@CreedHS tweeted: “Nawaz Sharif’s flight has been delayed suddenly, they are arresting his supporters, news channels told to stop reporting on the issue. they just haven’t shut down the internet yet. I already feel that state are planning for everything to go down in the dark at night.”
Tweep @kishkindha added: “Suspense over if Nawaz Sharif will return to #Pakistan today? His Lahore-bound flight... is delayed by over 2 hours. Ex PM playing his life’s biggest gamble as he knows he will be arrested soon after landing in Lahore. Something cooking?”
However, despite all the theories, the Sharifs' flight arrived in Lahore at around 8.45pm local time and uniformed men escorted them to another waiting aircraft to be flown out of Lahore to Islamabad.
But, their arrival in Pakistan soon divided social media users into two segments — those who supported their decision to return and those who celebrated their arrest. The former got #SherAyaSherAya (the lion is here) to trend on twitter in Pakistan.
Tweep @nazakat38054437 wrote: “#SherAyaSherAya: I will vote for PML-N Insha Allah and PML-N will comback on July 25!”
#SherAyaSherAya : I will VOTE for PMLN InshAllah and PMLN will comback on 25th July 18 InshAllah— nazakat malik (@nazakat38054437) July 14, 2018
@SRK2200 tweeted: “Nawaz Sharif making history again. He came back and is jailed. Somewhere, someone is scared. Many can’t believe. But, yes he is back and arrested along with his daughter. #SherAyaSherAya”
Tweep @i_m_mushy wrote: “#NawazSharifReturn has provided @pmln_org the much needed fresh lease of energy for the #Elections2018. #SherAyaSherAya”
@wadoodraja tweeted: “No doubt the way Nawaz Sharif handled things ever since he came into power, he proved that he is a man of steel! #Respect #SherAyaSherAya”
Tweep @genius_yasir added: “At least someone has the guts to accept their mistakes. #NawazSharif”
While these tweeps were standing up for Sharif’s decision to return to Pakistan, there were others who were celebrating with #DekhoDekhoChorAya (look the thief is here).
Tweep @ghyinvestment wrote: “There is nothing proud about a convicted criminal coming to his country to face jail time. He’s done no one a favor. He’s convicted because he looted the country. Stop portraying him as a hero #NawazReturns #DekhoDekhoChorAya”
There is nothing proud about a convicted criminal coming to his country to face jail time. He’s done no one a favor. He’s convicted because he looted the country. Stop portraying him as a hero #NawazReturns #DekhoDekhoChorAya @asmashirazi @TalatHussain12 @CMShehbaz @MaryamNSharif— Naeem Iqbal (@ghyinvestment) July 14, 2018
@haideralis20 tweeted: “I am amazed the so-called intellectual people support thieves and a traitor of our country. #DekhoDekhoChorAya”
Tweep @Kishwer733 added: “So, so proud of our judicial system! Criminals have been arrested. I haven’t seen a better news in a while. Pakistan Zindabad! #DekhoDekhoChorAya”