LAHORE - PML-N leaders and workers gave a warm sendoff to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as he surrendered to authorities at Kot Lakhpat Jail on Tuesday night after expiry of six-week bail.

Party leaders and workers started gathering outside Kot Lakhpat Jail well before arrival of the rally late night. The police stopped legislators, party office-bearers and workers from going close to the jail gate. Infuriated workers chanted slogans against the present regime and in favour of Nawaz Sharif.

A large number of party workers gathered outside residence of ex-PM in the evening, waiting for their leader to come out and start journey toward Kot Lakhpat Jail.

As announced earlier by the party, Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz drove the vehicle carrying ex-PM on the back seat. Maryam Nawaz was sitting beside her cousin on the front seat.

Highly charged workers chanted slogan of Sher Aya, Sher Aya as vehicle of Nawaz Sharif came out of Jati Umra gate at 8:20 pm. Workers showered rose petals on the vehicle that was moving at a snail’s pace due to extra ordinary rush. Party workers carrying party flags and portraits of Nawaz Sharif made victory signs and captured pictures of their leader on mobile phones.

Big procession of four and two wheelers with party leaders and workers onboard accompanied the car driven by Hamza Shehbaz. Workers welcomed the rally at Adda Plot and became part of the caravan in the onward journey. Through Lahore Ring Road, the convoy reached Shinghai Flyover where the party had arranged a big reception camp. Workers welcomed the convoy by showering rose petals and slogans of ‘Sher Aya, Sher Aya’ and ‘Mian Sahib We Love You’. Nawaz Sharif waved to the crowd and asked workers to clear way for continuing journey onward. He also thanked the workers when he reached Kot Lakhpat Jail.

Sharing her views about strength of the rally and mood of workers, Maryam Nawaz said there were huge number of cars and motorcycles. In series of tweets, she shared

 

 

 

 

videos of large number of workers gathered around the vehicle of Nawaz Sharif moving at snail’s pace at different places, on Raiwind Road, Adda Plot, Ring Road and Ferozepur Road.

“Queue of cars and bikes is endless. Hundreds of party workers are around the car to get a glimpse of their leader. From the vehicle, heads are seen till the end,” one of her tweet reads. “Ring Road….jam packed,” she tweeted along with a video.

“Mian Sahib we love you is the only slogan heard from Raiwind Road to Katch Jail Road,” her another tweet reads.

PML-N leader Khawaja Asif also shared his views in a tweet. “Custodian of vote ko izzat do slogan has started journey towards jail for the fourth time in a year,” the tweet reads. In another tweet he accused PEMRA of ordering channels to stop coverage of the rally.

“PEMRA ordered blackout of the rally…Islamabad is scared,” he stated in one of his tweet.

Information Minister Samsam Bokhari criticized the PML-N for taking Nawaz Sharif to Kot Lakhpat Jail in a rally.

“Using court relief for political purposes is condemnable. Nawaz Sharif is fond of jaloos (rally). That’s why he has taken out jaloos of the economy. PML-N has the reputation of violating law. It (PML-N) has attacked the Supreme Court in the past. Nawaz wanted to make Maryam his successor. The rally is a competition between Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz,” the minister said.

Special Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan also came down hard on the PML-N for holding the rally, saying it was a pressure tactics for getting an NRO which would never be given.

After destroying politics of her father, she said, Maryam Nawaz was taking out jaloos of Nawaz Sharif.

Firdous said the younger brother had fled the country on getting information of Nawaz Sharif returning to the jail. She said that those wanted to befool masses would fail again.

Minister for Communication Murad Saeed said that the PML-N staged circus on roads after failure of Nawaz Sharif to flee the country. He said Maryam Nawaz was burying politics of godfather. Murad said the nation had rejected looters and was standing behind the elected PM. 

An accountability court had on Dec 24, 2018 handed down seven-year jail term and Rs1.5 billion fine on Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference. He was imprisoned in Adiala Jail and later shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail on his request.

Supreme Court granted him bail for six weeks for getting treatment for heart and kidney diseases from any healthcare centre of his choice in the country. The entire bail period, however, lapsed in medical tests and checkup from team of experts at Sharif Medical City.

The bail expired on May 7 as the Supreme Court rejected his petition seeking permission to go abroad for the treatment.