Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thanked his supporters for a rousing welcome in Jhelum.
“I am short of words to express my gratitude for the warm welcome I have received in Jhelum,” he said. “When we had assumed power in 2013, Pakistan was in deep trouble,” he recalled.
The former premier said that he had kept his words regarding restoration of peace in the country, including Karachi and Balochistan. “Load-shedding has nearly ended in Pakistan today while peace has been restored.”
“I want to let you know that my government was dismissed by five honorable judges within a minute. Isn’t it an insult to your mandate? Can you tolerate this insult?”
He said even judges themselves said that there was no allegation of corruption against Nawaz Sharif. The nation must ask judges when Nawaz Sharif was ousted from power.
“The judges must be asked why Nawaz Sharif was disqualified,” he added.
“No Prime Minister could complete his term since 70 years. This is not only an insult to a prime minister, but also to 200 million people.”
“One Maulana sahab (Tahir ul Qadri) returns to Pakistan after every three months and stages protests. Maulana himself is a Canadian citizen.”
“I was accused of getting salary from my son’s company. Who gets salary from his son?.”
“Is there any court in the country which could punish dictators who had sent democratic governments packing and ruled the country for 10 years?”
Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique says that rally will stay in Jhelum tonight.
Nawaz Sharif waves to his supporters
5:45: Nawaz Sharif waves his supporters during his rally in Jhelum
5: 11 pm – Nawaz Sharif’s rally arrives at Jhelum
4: 45 pm – “Support me to end this gimmick. Together, we will build a new Pakistan,” says Sharif.
4: 45 pm – Is this not disrespecting your mandate, asks Nawaz.
4:45 pm – “Millions elect me, and five people disqualify me,” he said to a charged up crowd.
4:45 pm – Nawaz Sharif addresses participants of his rally at Dina.
4:30 pm – The PML-N rally arrives in Dina.
4:05 pm – Nawaz says that the disqualification was an insult to the votes of 200 million people
4:00 pm – Nawaz Sharif addresses participants of the rally at Sohawa
3:30 pm – The caravan reached Sohawa town, which is administrative subdivision of Jhelum district. Amid tight security, the cavalcade is unlikely to stop in the town.
3:20 pm – A small number of supporters is present in Jhelum to welcome Nawaz Sharif. Welcome camps have been set up roadside where the party workers are waiting to catch a glimpse of Nawaz Sharif, carrying party flags in their hands and chanting slogans.
3:10 pm – Moving fast from the outset of its journey, PML-N caravan led by Nawaz Sharif entered Jhelum, a stronghold of the party. The city is 164 kilometres from Lahore.
3:00 pm – It’s not clear if the ex-PM will address his supporters in Jhelum.
2:55 pm – There was a good number of PML-N supporters present on the GT Road to welcome Nawaz Sharif; however, the caravan moved ahead to Jhelum.
2:45 pm – The procession reached Gujar Khan on its way to Jhelum.
According to our correspondent, the cavalcade moved too fast apparently due to some security reasons. Nawaz Sharif used to take down glasses of his car but he was barred by police.
Moving with 120 km/hour speed, the protocol outpaced and reached Gujar Khan before the caravan, while Nawaz Sharif’s luxury bomb-proof container and squad lagged behind the cavalcade, our correspondent said.
Yesterday, the caravan covered 30 kilometres in 11 hours while today covered 34-km distance in just one hour.
2:25 pm – On its way to Lahore while travelling on the GT Road, Nawaz Sharif’s road caravan crossed Rawat and Mandra areas. The next destination is Gujar Khan, 15 kilometres away.
2:10 pm – Nawaz Sharif’s road caravan crossed T-Chowk and came out of Rawalpindi’s limits, moving fast towards GT Road.
1:50 pm – On its way to Lahore, the road caravan led by ex-PM Nawaz Sharif reached Sowan Road in the outskirts of Rawalpindi city where the party workers have set up a large welcome camp for their leader. The caravan will then head to GT Road.
1:10 pm – The caravan led by Nawaz Sharif crossed Kachehri Chowk. It’s on way to Rawat, Gujar Khan and Jhelum.
He is expected to reach Lahore by Friday, given the slow pace of the convoy.
12:55 pm – The former premier is expected to move through Jhelum, Kharian, Lala Musa and Gujrat to Gujranwala, and then move through Ferozwala to enter his hometown of Lahore.
12:45 pm – The PML-N plans to stretch the rally over at least three days in order to show its ‘popularity’ among the masses.
At least 20 to 25 National Assembly constituencies fall along the GT Road, besides around 15 constituencies of Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly.
Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to address public meetings at almost all major and small towns falling on the route which included towns of Gujjar Khan, Dina, Kharian, Sarai Alamgir, Wazirabad, Kamonki and Muridke.
Next stop of the caravan is Kachehri Chowk that is 1 kilometre from the Punjab House.
His vehicle is surrounded by a large number of workers. Senior PML-N leaders and cabinet members are accompanying the ex-PM.
12:22 pm – Nawaz Sharif’s vehicle finally came out of Punjab House where he spend night after arriving in the city from Islamabad. The rally was scheduled to resume at around 11am.
12:15 pm – Police were busy in clearing the way of Punjab House, directing citizens to get off the road.
12:00 pm – Nawaz Sharif’s jubilant supporters are waiting outside the Punjab House for the convoy to resume the second leg of 370-km journey to Lahore.
“Look who is here: Lion! Lion!” they shouted, referring to symbol of his political party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
The meeting was attended by Abid Sher Ali, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Chaudhry Tanvir, Ahsan Iqbal, Amir Muqam and others.
11:30 am – The outset of Nawaz Sharif’s second day journey from Rawalpindi to Lahore may be delayed further as the ex-PM was holding consultation with party leaders over next phases of the road caravan.
11:00 am – “People of Pakistan should come out to support Nawaz Sharif for their rights. He is in the journey of restoration of fundamental right of masses and to for the sanctity of vote… Our rally is not against any institution but for the people of this country,” PML-N’s Zaeem Qadri said while speaking to reporters outside Rawalpindi’s Punjab House.
10:30 am – There are reports that authorities have closed schools around Rawalpindi’s Kachehri Chowk from where Nawaz Sharif will resume his homecoming journey.
10:15 am – Nawaz Sharif is expected to resume journey to Lahore at around 11am from Kachehri Chowk.
10:10 am – PML-N leaders including Amir Muqam and AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider have also arrived at the Punjab House.
10:00 am – PML-N workers have started gathering outside Punjab House, Rawalpindi where Nawaz Sharif spent the night after the march reached the city.
PML-N Caravan – Day 1
In his first public speech after his ouster, the ex-PM addressed his supporters in Rawalpindi, promising that he would give his supporters a revolutionary roadmap to rescue the country form the quagmire it was in.
“This rally will be the beginning of that revolution… One court handed down the decision while this, the public court, has made its own decisions,” he asserted while speaking to participants of the caravan he led from Islamabad.
He said the country needed a revolution and asked the people to support him in this endeavour.
On the first leg of his defiant political journey, Sharif’s cavalcade had only arrived at Rawalpindi at night, covering a mere 15 km.
He is expected to reach Lahore by Friday, given the slow pace of the convoy.
The Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from holding office last month. It also ordered the opening of corruption cases against him and his three children.
Sharif left Islamabad around noon and was seen off by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a party loyalist who was elected as prime minister last month.
Several government ministers also joined Sharif’s convoy and led the chanting in their leader’s support.
Sharif was disqualified from office by the Supreme Court on July 28, on the grounds that he did not declare a salary which he says he never took from a company in the United Arab Emirates.
Sharif resigned swiftly after the Supreme Court decision, and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a staunch party loyalist, was appointed as his replacement last week.