Reaching his final destination in Lahore, Data Darbar Chowk, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif raised the question that why no prime minister in the 70-year history of Pakistan was allowed to complete his term.
“Should monopoly of a few people suppress the 200 million people of Pakistan? This treatment is not acceptable to us,” he said to the crowd gathered.
Taking a jibe at PTI chief Imran Khan, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the liar said the youth was with him.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s ‘homecoming’ rally was received by several hundred jubilant Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) activists and supporters on its arrival Lahore.
Sharif’s vehicle was showered with rose petals and there were plenty of fireworks as his caravan inched its way through the city.
Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, who belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N), also arrived in Lahore to join the party’s grand show.
Addressing his supporters in the Shahdara area, Sharif asked them if they supported the court verdict that disqualified him.
He added that he was overjoyed to see the massive crowd that had turned up in Shahdara to welcome him. “You are great,” he told them.
“I ask you.. do you accept the verdict against me?” he asked. “Nobody from Islamabad to Shahdara has accepted it,” he added.
“I have done nothing wrong. No corruption charges were proved against me. Then I ask why was I disqualified,” he remarked.
“Promise me [residents of Shahdara] that you will support me,” he added.
Sharif’s journey from Islamabad to Lahore via GT Road that started on August 9 has been described by many as a show of defiance following his disqualification by the Supreme Court.
Earlier in the day, Sharif while addressing his supporters in Muridke said the country belonged to the masses, not a handful of people.
“A few people don’t own Pakistan. It belongs to you, the masses. You elected me as the prime minister, but some people did not respect your decision,” he added.
“What I see in Muridke is the real change. It’s a revolution. We will joins hands and walk walk side by side,” the former premier said before his ‘homecoming’ rally left Muridke and continued its journey towards Lahore.
On his rally’s arrival at Gujranwala, where he stayed overnight, a large number of supporters welcomed him and raised slogans in his favour. Nawaz also delivered a speech with scathing criticism of the judiciary, calling his ouster from office a ‘joke’.
Referring to the July 28 verdict of a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court that unanimously disqualified him from holding a public office for not being Sadiq (truthful) and Amin (trustworthy), Nawaz said, “Every prime minister in this country was allowed one-and-a-half years on average to rule. Some were executed, some jailed, some handcuffed and some exiled. On the other hand, dictators were allowed to rule for decades and the judges even allowed them to rule.”
He claimed it was pity that none of the prime ministers in the 70-year history of the country had been allowed to complete their tenure.
Thousands also lined the road to catch a glimpse of the former premier as his convoy rolled down the route. Sharif is travelling in a bomb-proof vehicle especially designed for the journey.
Before embarking on the journey, the Pakistan Muslim League -Nawaz (PML-N) leader held a meeting with key party leaders, including Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Sources confirmed that Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir was instructed to make arrangements to accommodate a large number of people and was handling affairs in Gujranwala.
According to sources, around 1,000 vehicles and some 5,000 supporters are accompanying the ‘homecoming’ rally.