LAHORE: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif concluded his marathon homecoming rally in his native town of Lahore on Saturday where he riled up his supporters for what he called ‘revolution’ asking them to wait for his ‘new plan of action’ that he would unveil on the 70th Independence Day of Pakistan which falls on Monday.
During his four-day-long homecoming rally, Sharif had stopovers in different cities of Punjab where he bitterly criticized the judiciary which disqualified him last month for holding any public office in the Panamagate case.
“Should the monopoly of a few be allowed to suppress 200 million people of Pakistan? This humiliation is not acceptable to us,” Sharif said in a veiled reference to the Supreme Court which ousted him.
The convoy of Sharif, which had set off from Islamabad on Wednesday, reached late Saturday night at Data Darbar of Lahore, the final stopover, where a huge crowd was present to welcome the deposed premier.
Sharif lamented that no prime minister of Pakistan had been allowed to complete his constitutional five-year term but three dictators ruled the country for 30 years. “This system is affected by a virus and will have to be changed if we want to change the destiny of this county,” he said.
He said he was voted to power by 200 million people of this country but just ‘five people’ sent him home. Sharif said he had no desire to for power but now he would not stay back. “Now you will have to take a firm stand,” he told his supporters.
He said the judges who disqualified him had admitted that Nawaz Sharif was not corrupt and had not embezzled public money, adding that he was disqualified for not drawing salary from his son’s company.
“It is not your business if I didn’t draw salary from my son’s company,” he said, while asking his audience, “is it a justified reason to kick out Pakistan’s Prime Minister?”
Sharif opened his speech by asking people if they accepted the court’s decision of his disqualification. He said the massive turnout in his rally proved that the people had widely rejected the court’s decision.
He said the passion and vigour he has seen in his workers was an indicator of a revolution. “This revolution is to bring justice, to eliminate poverty and to bring prosperity in the country.”
The former premier called for accountability of those creating hurdles in the way to prosperity. “The people who made mockery of democracy should be brought to the book. Pakistan has seen the tragic Fall of Dhaka and lessons are needed to be learnt from that debacle,” he added.
He said despite all the hurdles created by the people who conspire against the PML-N government, they brought prosperity to the country by reducing load-shedding and gas shortage and by developing large infrastructural projects.
“If we want to change our future, we need to change the system of this country. With a better and a transformed system, will we be able to regain our respect and pride in the world, which we have lost after this decision,” he said.
Highlighting flaws of the justice system, Sharif said cases linger on in courts for years but people do not get justice. “Both the social justice and legal justice systems need to be transformed,” he said, adding that “we will change this country into a state where people will get justice in only 90 days.”
Sharif asked his workers to vow that they would support him in his plan. “With your support, I will give you a Naya Pakistan,” the former premier said while using the slogan of his arch rival Imran Khan. “With your help, I will make this country the land once dreamt by our forefathers,” he claimed.
He said the time has come when majority was needed to be respected. “Nawaz Sharif promises that the majority will be respected. I do not fear for my life and fulfill my promises,” he added.
Taking a dig at his opponents, Sharif said AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, who, he said, had done a great job, could also ousted for delivering. He also asked his supporters to promise to support his revolutionary program.
Earlier Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif also addressed the gathering and said the past four days have proved that the youth was with the PML-N not the PTI.
AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Balochistan CM Sanaullah Zehri, MNA Hamza Shehbaz, Saad Rafique, Khawaja Asif were amongst the many leaders present on the stage.
Earlier Nawaz Sharif also addressed his workers at Muridka and Shahdra where he asked people if they had accepted the decision of his disqualification.
He said people from Islamabad to Lahore had rejected his disqualification and that neither he nor the people would sit patiently. He said the case that was opened from Panama closed on Iqama.
Former prime minister’s rally was received by several hundred jubilant 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.