ISLAMABAD – Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing a charged crowd at Committee Chowk in Rawalpindi late Wednesday night, said that millions of people had voted to elect their leader but unfortunately a few had conspired to overthrow the democratic government.
“It happened with me for the third time. Is this not an insult to your vote?” Nawaz asked his gathered supporters.
Addressing his supporters, the deposed prime minister said, “I ask you pledge today that you will not let your mandate be disgraced.”
He said no prime minister in the country’s 70-year history had ever been allowed to complete his term. “This joke must end now. No one can be allowed to disgrace people’s mandate. I will not accept this and the people will not accept it [either],” he added.
“This gathering here serves as a referendum. The court of the people of Pakistan has given its verdict in my favour,” the PML-N leader claimed.
For the past 70 years, not a single prime minister has been allowed to complete his or her tenure, he observed.
“We have to make sure that the mandate of the people is respected in the future. We will do this in the interest of Pakistan,” he said, adding that until the mandate of people is not respected, Pakistan can not progress.
Commenting on his disqualification by the Supreme Court, Nawaz claimed that there was “not even a single allegation of corruption” against him, “so they [the apex court] de-seated me for not receiving a salary from my son”.
In order to garner public support after being disqualified by the Supreme Court on dishonesty, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday started his journey from Islamabad to make his way back to home in Lahore.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ishaq Dar, Talal Chaudhry, Khawaja Asif and other PML-N stalwarts were present to see off the former premier at Punjab House Islamabad.
As he came out from the camp office at 12:05 am, a large number of supporters received him chanting slogans in his favour.
19: 30: Nawaz Sharif is likely to spend the night at Punjab House in Rawalpindi. The caravan will leave for Jhelum on Thursday morning.
17: 20: Leading a sizable political rally, the ex-PM entered Rawalpindi.
16:25 pm – Nawaz Sharif left his bulletproof vehicle to board the specially designed 38-foot long bomb-proof container.
16:20 pm – Prime Minister’s convey arrived at the Shakarparian spot where scores of party workers welcomed their chief by chanting ‘Sherr’ a reference to the electoral symbol of the ruling PML-N.
14:07 pm – The motorcade of the prime minister en route to Rawalpindi reached at Zero point along with numbers of supporters and workers. It took the rally around two and half hour to reach the spot from D-Chowk.
On his arrival people showered rose petals on his convoy and chanted slogans in favour of their leader.
According to local media, supporters and workers reached Islamabad from all over the country, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and other areas to join the rally.
All the route selected for the rally has been decorated with banners, party flags and Nawaz Sharif’s posters.
Nawaz will address the public gathering at Jhelum, Gujrat and Gujranwala.
A bomb-proof container has been arranged for Nawaz Sharif to lead a rally to Lahore.
All the modern facilities, including AC, drawing room, bed room have been provided in the container.
Earlier, the former premier was scheduled to leave for Lahore on Sunday but the plan was changed due to security concerns.
According to local media, Nawaz was informed about potential threats and asked to use another route, but he defied all threats and selected GT Road as route for his way back to home.
Sources said that a large number of Sharif’s supporters wanted the ex-PM to return to his hometown Lahore, by road.
Maryam Nawaz, who wanted to accompanying her father in homegoing rally, was forced by her father to leave for Lahore a day earlier apparently due to looming threats.
She tweeted as stating, “I wanted to accompany him so requested. He refused. His word is the last for me. Baap ka hukam”.
I wanted to accompany him so requested. He refused. His word is the last for me. Baap ka hukam. https://t.co/DuFTtgbQZG
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) August 8, 2017
Seeking protection from Almighty Allah for his father, she posted pictures of her departure on Thursday.
Abu seeing us off as we leave for Lahore….. Entrusted my beloved to Allah… May Allah protect him from all evils.
باپ سراں دے تاج، محمد pic.twitter.com/Lu2F2EpkaJ
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) August 8, 2017
On Tuesday, Punjab’s Information Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman revealed that the rally will take three days to reach Lahore instead of single day.
On the other hand, a close aide to Nawaz Sharif, Asif Kirmani said that they are unable to give a final time frame for this road show.
In an advisory, the owners of restaurants, hotels, shopping plazas and other shops situated on the route have been directed to keep their businesses closed in order to prevent any untoward situation.
According to 92 News, Metro Bus Service has also been suspended in Islamabad and Lahore ahead of the rally. Such steps are creating hurdles for public in carrying out routine work and reach offices, local media added.
Rally Against Whom?
Since the ex-prime minister announced his decision to hold homegoing rally, his political rivals have been criticising his decision.
On Tuesday, Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri asked the former prime minister to name the one against whom rally is being conducted after disqualification.
PTI chief Imran Khan asked Nawaz, “What message are you trying to convey to the people by rallying through the Grand Trunk road?” he asked Nawaz.
“The Sharifs are trying to pressurise the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), but that will not happen,” Khan asserted.
“They [the PML-N] are ruling in the centre and in Punjab, then who are they protesting against?” Khan asked.
PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry called Sharif’s decision to rally to Lahore a useless effort to revive his dying politics.
It seems that Nawaz wants to go to any length against the apex court, he stated.
Addressing a public gathering at Nasir Bagh on Tuesday, AML head Sheikh Rashid said that Nawaz’s rally will put the lives of common people in danger, adding that ousted PM will be responsible if any incident happens.