‘Defiant’ rally reaches Pindi

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From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif began a rally yesterday in a defiant show of political power after a Supreme Court decision disqualified him from office late last month over undeclared assets. Sharif launched the “caravan” from Islamabad to Lahore despite concerns of close advisers about security. Hundreds of supporters thronged the capital to take part in the rally, setting up camps all along the route Sharif is expected to take and address supporters. Sharif was seen off in Islamabad by the new prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the new cabinet and other party officials. “We really don´t know how long it will take, how many days, we have no idea,” Kirmani told reporters. Nawaz Sharif left Punjab House almost two hours late from the scheduled time as he ‘waited for the Islamabad High Court verdict in the petitions filed against his rally’. “Nawaz Sharif is still our prime minister,” said worker Niaz Ahmad, who wore a lion look-alike costume, and chanted, “Lion, Lion!” The former PM is expected to deliver a speech late night at Kacheri in Rawalpindi where he will stay for the night. His caravan is scheduled to reach Jhelum at 1:30pm today.  Nawaz, in recent meetings with party leaders, lawyers and media, has expressed his displeasure over the court ruling. He said no corruption charges had been proved, and it was unfair to disqualify him. However, the political observers have said that the crowd at the rally was much less than expectations with opposition parties criticizing use of state machinery for the procession.

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