Thursday Aug 10, 2017
JHELUM: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, addressing his supporters in Jhelum, rallied his support base and said he is not greedy for power but wants to change Pakistan for the better and he was working towards bringing peace and prosperity to the country.
"I have not come here to ask you to make me prime minister again. I don’t want power, neither am I greedy for power. I am going to Lahore from Islamabad. I have self-respect."
The former premier also said it was the peoples mandate which brought him to power and he was ousted "in a minute".
"Now, five honoured judges, ousted a democratically elected prime minister with the stroke of a pen in a minute," said Nawaz.
He asked the people gathered to question the decision of the leading to his ouster.
"There was no corruption, there was no wrong doing."
“You choose a prime minister by voting for him, but then a judge or a military dictator tears up your vote. This needs to change if Pakistan is to progress,” said Nawaz.
“The average for a democratically elected prime minister in Pakistan is a year and a half. Dictators rule the country for 10 years but a prime minister can not even complete his tenure.”
“Is any court to punish dictators, dictators who have violated the Constitution,” questioned the former premier.
Criticising Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri, Nawaz said when ever the country is on a path of progress, Qadri comes to Pakistan.
"When I came to power in 2013, the country was almost bankrupt, industries were wrapping up, there was no electricity and the country was in a dismal state," said Nawaz.
Nawaz added that he decided to give his utmost to the country when he came to power.
Referring to the security situation in the country, the former prime minister reiterated that he brought peace to Karachi and Balochistan, which in turn helped better the country's economy.
After addressing his supporters, Nawaz held a meeting of PML-N leaders to discuss the future course of action.
The rally along the GT Road was also discussed.
Speaking to newsmen in Jhelum, the ousted premier said the charter of democracy can serve as a basis for "real democratic forces" to head forth. He said that in order to get the people's right to rule restored, it is inevitable to reach out to the masses.
"Is there any court in the country, which could sentence any dictator," he questioned.
Commenting on his rival political party PTI, Sharif said he does not consider it a political force, adding, "They have some other agenda".
The former prime minister will spend the night in Jhelum and will leave for Lahore tomorrow morning.
Earlier today, Nawaz's convoy departed Rawalpindi and entered the town of Jhelum where Nawaz is expected to address a gathering of supporters.
PML-N leader Amir Muqam, addressing supporters in Jhelum, said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has damaged the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and no change has been brought in the province.
"The future of Pakistan is PML-N," said the PML-N leader.
Though the former premier's convoy took time to cross Katcheri Chowk, Rawalpindi, once through, it whizzed out of the garrison city, crossing Rawat and the GT Road towns that follow.
Nawaz began the second leg of his 'homecoming rally' after leaving in his cavalcade from Punjab House.
On Wednesday, Sharif, the chief of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), set out from Punjab House, Islamabad after deciding to go home to Lahore via the GT Road earlier.
The amassing of supporters, however, could only get him as far as Rawalpindi — forcing him to spend the night in the city.
Prior to his departure, Nawaz held a meeting with top party leaders, including Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider.
The former premier formally set off his journey from Rawalpindi's Kacheri Chowk, where hordes of supporters had gathered and traffic was suspended for the general public.
The former premier's convoy includes senior party leaders Amir Muqam, Abid Sher Ali, Hanif Abbasi, Marvi Memon and Zaeem Qadri, among others.
The Rawalpindi traffic police also made special arrangements to ensure the rally passes through smoothly from Kacheri Chowk, along the GT Road, to Rawat's T-Chowk.
Arrangements have been made for commuters to use alternative roads once the rally is under way, claimed the police.
The former premier is expected to move through Jhelum, Kharian, Lala Musa and Gujrat to Gujranwala, and then move through Kamoke, Muridke, Kala Shah Kaku, Ferozwala and Shahdra to enter his hometown of Lahore.
PML-N leader Zaeem Qadri, addressing the media earlier, said the party leaders will decide on the way whether to camp in Jhelum or somewhere else. The distance between Rawalpindi and Jhelum is around 100km, and usually takes around an hour or so in normal traffic.
A bullet-proof dais has been set up in Jhelum, lending credence to reports that Nawaz may make an address there.
After being disqualified by the Supreme Court on July 28 in its verdict in the Panama Papers case, Nawaz has gone to the 'people's court' to seek their verdict.
Addressing supporters at Rawalpindi late Wednesday night, he took a pledge from the people that they would get their mandate respected.
"Promise me you would get your mandate respected. Promise me you won’t allow your prime minister to be humiliated this way," he stated.
"If you do not protect your rights, they will continue to be snatched away from you," he told his supporters.
"The judges said there is no corruption case against Nawaz Sharif, so why was I disqualified? I leave this for history to determine," noted the three-time premier.
Earlier, the former prime minister's caravan entered Rawalpindi surrounded by scores of supporters.
Strict security preparations were made for the rally, with a significant number of police personnel, including elite force commandos, deployed. A helicopter also followed the procession to provide safe passage for the rally.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi – the new prime minister and a close ally – said the former leader was alert to security threats. "The bigger a leader is, the bigger the threat is," Abbasi told Geo.tv.
The ex-premier departed from Punjab House around noon. Senior government officials — including Abbasi, members of the federal cabinet, and PML-N leaders — were present to see him off.
Chaudhry Nisar – the disgruntled party leader and former interior minister – was conspicuous through his absence from the procession.
The event remained largely peaceful, though Sharif's supporters assaulted the crew of two local TV stations that had been critical of him during the court proceedings, police official Hafeez Khan said.