De­posed Pak­istani PM be­gins two days of ral­lies

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

RAWALPINDI, Pak­istan — Pak­istan’s de­posed prime min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif kicked off two days of ral­lies on Wed­nes­day aimed at demon­strat­ing his po­lit­i­cal strength by mak­ing stops from the cap­i­tal, Is­lam­abad, to his home­town of Lahore, ig­nor­ing se­cu­rity threats and draw­ing thou­sands of sup­port­ers.

Sharif planned to spend at least two nights along the Grand Trunk Road, the main road from Is­lam­abad to Lahore, in his first pub­lic ap­pear­ances since July 28, when the coun­try’s Supreme Court dis­qual­i­fied him from of­fice for con­ceal­ing as­sets.

Prime Min­is­ter Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi, who re­placed Sharif a few days later, hugged the three-time pre­mier as he boarded a ve­hi­cle along with his sup­port­ers. Ab­basi is a law­maker from Sharif’s rul­ing Pak­istan Mus­lim League party. Sharif’s sup­port­ers show­ered rose petals on his ve­hi­cle and waved na­tional and party flags, chant­ing: “My Lion, your lion, Nawaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif’’ — the lion was Sharif’s elec­tion sym­bol when he won the 2013 vote.

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