ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is on his way to Rawalpindi to begin his journey, via the GT Road, for his hometown of Lahore.
At present, Nawaz’s cavalcade, surrounded by scores of party supporters, is at Faizabad Interchange from where it will move towards Murree Road, Rawalpindi and head to the Katcheri Chowk at GT Road.
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader was seen shifting between customised container, made for his rally, and his personal vehicle.
Various PML-N leaders were seen greeting their supporters and addressing them.
Deputy Speaker National Assembly Murtaza Javed Abbasi, while addressing supporters, said if will remain with the caravan even if takes a year to reach Lahore and will support his party and leader.
The rally is a show of force by the former prime minister after his disqualification by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.
Earlier, the former premier began the journey after departing from Punjab House around noon. Senior government officials, including the prime minister, members of the federal cabinet and PML-N leaders, were present at Punjab House to see off Nawaz. Disgruntled party leader Chaudhry Nisar was conspicuous by his absence.
Sources said President Mamnoon Hussain and Nawaz’s daughter Maryam telephoned him to wish him well for the journey.
Before getting into the vehicle at Punjab House, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar embraced Nawaz.
Scores of supporters had amassed at D-Chowk, in front of the Parliament, as Nawaz’s caravan was expected to formally begin its journey from there but the former premier did not make a stopover there and is en route.
The decision for Sharif to reach out to masses by travelling via GT Road was taken at a party meeting at Punjab House a couple of days ago. Sharif’s special aide on political affairs, Senator Asif Kirmani, said the route was changed after demands by PML-N’s local leaders and MNAs. Heavy traffic, including emergency vehicles, banned from GT Road till Aug 11 Talking to the media Wednesday morning outside the Punjab House, Kirmani said he cannot say where Nawaz will address workers or when and where they will stay the night as it all ‘depends on the love between the supporters and their leader’.
Following his disqualification as the prime minister, Sharif vacated PM House on July 30 and headed to his Murree residence along with family members and close confidants. A week later, he moved to Punjab House, Islamabad.