GT Road rally: ‘I am only appealing to the people’s court,’ Nawaz tells supporters
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has resumed a long road trip to his hometown of Lahore via the Grand Trunk (GT) Road on Friday after an overnight stay at a hotel located on the banks of the River Jhelum.
Sharif’s convoy set out today for Gujranwala where he is expected to spend the night.
He touched base briefly at Kharian and Lalamusa, and stopped at Gujrat to address his supporters.
‘Wait for my message’
“I am back in the court of the people,” Sharif told a crowd of loyalists in Gujrat. “I have filed no appeal in the courts, my only appeal is in your court,” he said.
“Have you accepted the decision of that [Supreme] court?” he asked.
“People accuse us of hiring people to attend our rallies. Are you for hire?” he asked, to which the crowd responded, “No!”
“Why did you people give me your votes in 2013?” he asked, reminding people of the promises he had made to them and attempted to deliver on.
“Today fans work, tubewells work, industries are running, agriculturists are in business, cities are alight… Next year, we will say goodbye to loadshedding for good,” he said.
“Why was I deseated? Someone tell me how I committed corruption. There is not a single stain of corruption on me,” he claimed.
“The judges themselves say that Nawaz Sharif has not committed any corruption,” he added.
“They removed me because I did not take my salary from my son. What kind of father takes a salary from his son?” he asked. “They took your votes, ripped them up and returned them to you.”
“This is the respect given to your vote. Your vote has not been respected at all,” he said.
“Is this acceptable to you? How long will this go on? For 70 years, a joke has been played with this country. I cannot bear this joke anymore. Can you?” he asked, reiterating points made in speeches over the past two days.
“This is the third time they have done this to me,” he said. “First a president removed me, then Pervez Musharraf, a dictator, removed me, and now the judiciary has removed me. Tell me, what should we do now? Should I sit at home? Or should I fight this injustice?”
“You do not want me to sit at home. You do not want me to accept this decision. What do you want me to do? Will you stand with me? Will you stand with me as I bring the nation out of darkness?”
“No one will be able to stop Pakistan from progressing, I promise you, but then you will have to do as I ask you to,” he told them.
“This is about the honour of 200 million people, and no one will crush this honour under their foot,” he said.
“Will you wait for my message?” he asked, to which the crowd responded, “Yes!”
“I am not asking that you make me prime minister again,” he reiterated.
The Sharif convoy made a stop at Gujrat, where the former PM offered Friday prayers and was to hold a consultative meeting with local workers.
Preparations have also been made for him to address supporters at Gujrat’s GTS Chowk.
“Lahore is not the final destination, it is just the first stop,” PML-N’s Talal Chaudhry said of the party’s plan. “This grand dialogue will move forward and the supremacy of the people will come into play,” he claimed.
Railways Minister Saad Rafique, addressing a crowd in Gujrat, condemned a terror attack in Bajaur Agency earlier today that killed at least two people.
“Why is the law not the same for everyone?” he asked. “A regular person goes from door to door seeking justice for 30 years, but he is never handed a verdict.”
Child run over
A nine-year-old child was run over by an Elite Forces vehicle part of the convoy near Lalamusa. None of the cars in the convoy stopped, DawnNews reported.
The child was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. His father fainted upon seeing his son’s body and was taken to the hospital. Initial reports suggest he is being treated for a heart attack.
Convoy resumes journey on day 3
Nawaz Sharif was said to be in good spirits as he spoke to reporters in an informal setting before resuming his journey from Jhelum to Gujranwala today.
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