LAHORE: PML-N President and former chief minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif is leading a big rally of party workers and leaders to Allama Iqbal International Airport where the party Quaid Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his daughter are due to arrive at 9 pm through Etihad Airways.

Thousands of PML-N workers gathered at Lahori Gate in the afternoon from where they proceeded to The Mall for airport.

PML-N top leadership including, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Kh Saad Rafiq, Senator Pervez Rashid, Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Mariyyum Aurengzeb, Kamran Michael and Talal Ch joined the party procession along with the party supporters from their respective constituencies.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had reached the Walled City at the night of July 12. Since the party leader was determined to lead the PML-N procession to the airport, there was possibility about his arrest or house arrest.

Shahbaz Sharif also sent a video message from Walled City location of his stay to motivate the workers for joining the procession to the airport in huge numbers.

Shahbaz Sharif said it was a historic day which is marked by the defeat of state oppression. “Nawaz Sharif is coming back to the country leaving his critically ill wife behind in London.

"I know that multiple restrictions have been put in the way of League workers who wanted to join the procession. However they are committed to going the airport as their struggle is for democracy, prosperity and rule of law in the country,” Shahbaz said.

Hamza Shahbaz Sharif reached Lahori Gate at 2 pm along with a number of party workers. A sizable gathering of the PML-N workers was already present there wherein the women workers were more conspicuous than the male.

The rally gradually grew into a big procession as the time progressed. In his message on the occasion, Hamza Shahbaz reiterated his determination to move to the airport to receive Nawaz Sharif who is coming back to the country leaving his seriously ill wife behind for the sake of the people and country.

Shamim Akhtar, the 85 years old mother of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, who last day had announced to go with her son, was somewhat house-arrested at Jatiumra residence.

The PML-N media coordinator Muhammad Mehdi said, the old lady has been confined to her residence while heavy police force is present outside obviously to block her way out.

Rallies of PML-N workers took to Lahore airport from various parts of Punjab despite the fact that no one was being allowed to cross over Abdullah Gull interchange at Ring Road to restrict movement of the Leaguers to the airport.

Former Federal Minister Kh Muhammad Asif led a workers procession from Sialkot, Amir Muqam from Peshawar while Prime Minister AJK Raja Farooq Haider had come from Kashmir, Former Minister Talal Ch reached from Faisalabad while the party tickets holders including Wahid Alam, Rohail Asghar and other also reached the procession venue.

Complaints of checking the movement of the League working from many parts of the Punjab were communicated to the party leadership. A rally led by former MPA Rana Muhammad Arshad was checked at Pannukot Nankana Sahib.

Highly charged workers of the League carrying party flags, portraits of their Quaid Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif continued to raise slogans. The anti-riot police and the district police were stationed at different places while Nawaz men remained undaunted.

A group of workers was seen wearing coffins and inscribed on them resolve to live and die with Nawaz Sharif. Some young activists had worn chains to register protest against the conviction to their leaders. Former Law Minister Rana Sanaullah criticized the caretaker government.