Sharif ignores warnings, takes road to Lahore

Editorial

Earlier in the day, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a notice to the PML-N for the appointment of a new party leader.

Sharif, ignoring security threats, left Punjab House in the capital Islamabad on Wednesday morning for his hometown Lahore. Sharif then had a change of heart about plans to elevate his brother as long-term leader.

Thousands of Sharif party 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. Both the petitions, for naming members of Sharif family in ECL and blocking their GT Road show, were rejected on the same causes in a reserved decision.

Sharif, who was staying in Murree after his ouster as Prime Minister, arrived in Islamabad with a grand welcome by scores of his followers.

On July 28, a five-member Supreme Court bench disqualified 67-year-old Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children, forcing the embattled leader out of office. Last month's removal of Sharif briefly plunged Pakistan into political turmoil but parliament later elected senior lawmaker Abbasi as the country's new prime minister.

Qamar Zaman Kaira of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said that there could be around 10,000 people with Sharif.

"It is unusual that a man who has been disqualified is planning to travel on the road and tell people that he is innocent", said the cricketer-turned-politician who is the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. He has vowed to get justice for eight of his supporters killed in anti-government rallies in 2014.

The court also ordered a criminal probe into the Sharif family's assets.

According to Dawn online, the disqualified premier's younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and his predecessor Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan warned Sharif against proceeding to Lahore by road, a distance of 380 km.

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