PESHAWAR - Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has asked the people to vote for his ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N in the upcoming general elections to strengthen the parliament and put the country on development track.

“Do you approve of my deposition for life? Can this verdict break the relation between you and me?” he asked his party supporters on Sunday, as the PML-N drew a large crowd to its power show in the capital of PTI-ruled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Cast vote in PML-N’s favour in 2018 general election so that laws could be amended by the parliament to reverse such [disqualification] decisions,” he appealed to the attendees.

Nawaz Sharif claimed that he never did corruption but still only five people [judges] gave a decision “against the mandate of the nation”.

He thanked the people for attending the rally in such large number and said that Pakhtuns had turned the course of history “today by showing their love” and by rejecting a court’s decision against him.

“Imran Khan, what did you do for the KP?” the disqualified premier raised the question for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman, amid chants of “Go, Imran, go” by the attendees.

“The PML-N government is coming (to power) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). We will resolve all your problems,” Sharif told the charged crowd. The ‘court of masses’ had announced the verdict in favour of the PML-N, he added.

The former premier repeatedly told off PTI chief, questioning his slogan of “change” - which Imran claims has occurred in the province as a result of his party’s rule. “Where are the trees, dams, hospitals and schools that were promised?”

A man lies day in and day out yet he has become Sadiq [truthful] and Ameen [honest], he said, referring to the Supreme Court’s clearing Imran Khan of corruption charges. “I salute the people [judges] who have declared him Sadiq and Ameen,” he said sarcastically.

Taking a jibe at PTI chief, he said that the Sadiq and Ameen had stolen a helicopter as well. “Residents of Peshawar have fully recognised the reality of such people. That’s why I can say with confidence that the PML-N will win the next elections in Peshawar,” he said.

The ex-PM said he worked day and night and eliminated loadshedding from the country, adding that he kept all his promises. He said that PTI was ruling the KP but it was his party’s government that was undertaking development projects in the province.

“The PTI government is constructing a metro bus project in Peshawar as the elections are nearing,” he said asking Khan where was he and his government in the past four years. “What did you do Imran Khan? Did you even end loadshedding?”

“The KP does not even have a forensic laboratory, otherwise, cases like Aasma’s would not have been dealt with the way they were,” Nawaz Sharif said while referring to a recent rape and murder of a four-year-old girl in Mardan.

He termed the soldiers martyred in Swat the other day heroes of the nation and said their sacrifices would not go waste.

Maryam Nawaz also addressed the public gathering. She started by welcoming the party workers in Pashto. She then offered condolences to families of the Pakistan army men martyred in the suicide attack in Swat on Friday.

She said that “today Peshawar has taken ‘notice’ of the ‘desecration’ of the people’s elected leader. The people of Peshawar have declared Nawaz Sharif honest and truthful today”.

Taking a jibe at the PTI government in the province, she asked where was the ‘change’ that was promised to the people.

While refereeing to the electoral symbol of the PML-N, she said that “lion will roar in the next elections,” and asked the participants to promise that “they will take a revenge for the defilement of their vote by voting for the PML-N in the next general elections”.

Maryam said that the PML-N will win the upcoming elections on the basis of its performance. She expressed confidence that the people of KP would reject the PTI in the next polls.

“The KP government has badly failed to provide better health and education facilities to the masses of the province,” she said.

During the rally, PML-N workers belonging to different factions of the party also raised slogans against each other. However, the police brought the situation under control.

Prior to reaching the gathering venue, Nawaz Sharif chaired an informal meeting with PML-N provincial assembly members at the residence of provincial party chief Amir Muqam.