Former Pakistan PM Sharif launches defiant procession
Supporters clogged the streets in Islamabad, waving flags and chanting slogans as Sharif’s convoy headed to the capital of Punjab province
Islamabad, Pakistan - Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif led a defiant procession on Wednesday to his party’s stronghold in the eastern city of Lahore as thousands rallied along the route, weeks after he was deposed by the Supreme Court.
Supporters clogged the streets in Islamabad, waving flags and chanting political slogans as Sharif’s convoy headed to the capital of Punjab province, where he hopes to bring tens of thousands into the streets in a show of force.
“The Supreme Court’s judgment to disqualify him is disputed, so people have not accepted it,” Sharif supporter Arshad Iftikhar, a retired government official, said.
Thousands of police sealed off main streets in the capital and surrounding areas as fears lingered over security after a truck bomb exploded in Lahore on Monday, killing one person and injuring dozens.
Others lining the route voiced frustration with the political elite.
“Around 50 per cent of the people here are those who have just come to watch the scene,” said bystander Nazakat Ali.
Sharif was the 15th prime minister in Pakistan’s 70-year history - roughly half of which has been spent under military rule - to be ousted before completing a full term. The top court sacked him last month after an investigation into corruption allegations against him and his family, bringing his third term to an end.
Nawaz Sharif (right) waves to supporters from his car as he takes out a rally from Islamabad to Lahore on Wednesday