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PPl of Rawalpindi have not accepted SC decision against me: Nawaz Sharif

10 August, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has termed a "sea of people" that had come out on the roads to participate in his 'homecoming' rally a referendum against the Supreme Court's July 28 verdict in Panama Papers case, saying the decision by a few 'noble people' was in fact the insult of millions of voters who had mandated him to rule the country in 2013 general elections.

"There was a court which gave its decision on July 28. And there is a court which has given its decision today. The 'court of people' has overruled the decision of a few 'noble men'," a defiant Nawaz said in his address to thousands of people in Rawalpindi in the wee hours of Thursday.

"The people of Rawalpindi have not accepted the Supreme Court decision against me ... it implies that the entire country has rejected court decision against me. It is the harbinger of a revolution ... the people's revolution," he told the charged crowd gathered as part of a rally that started from the Punjab House Wednesday morning.

The deposed PML-N leader said it had not happened to him for the first time. "First a president sent me home ... then it was a dictator ... and now judiciary has insulted the people's mandate," he said while peaking from inside a purpose-built shipping container at Committee Chowk, and added that no prime minister in the 70-year history of Pakistan has ever been allowed to complete his term. "First, I was expelled after two-and-a-half years in power only ... then I was sent to jail by a dictator ... and now when we were working day and night to take our own country to a new high in terms of development, I was ousted for not declaring the money that I never received."

"What was my fault? Did they find a single proof of corruption against me? Did they find me involved in receiving kickbacks and commissions? No ... they didn't," Nawaz said while discussing his disqualification by the Supreme Court, and added, "They de-seated me just for not receiving salary from my own son's company in UAE."

Apparently happy by the huge turnout at the rally, Nawaz Sharif said the whole country had rejected the court's decision. He said that until the mandate of the people was respected, Pakistan couldn't make progress. "We have to make sure that the mandate of the people is respected in the future ... we have to make sure no conspiracy against an elected prime minister succeeds in the future ... we have to make sure that nobody dares in future to send an elected government home in a matter of seconds ... and we will do this together ... we will do it in the best interest of the people and the country," he said.

"I don't expect you to reinstate me, but I want you to support me for the betterment of this country," he said, adding, "I ask you to pledge today that you will not let your mandate be disgraced again."

Coming down hard on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri, the ousted prime minister said the duo was again out to wreak havoc in the country. "First there was a dharna (sit-in), then it was Panama, followed by dharna-II. And now Maulvi (cleric) has again arrived in the country. Who are these people? And what do they want to do with this country and its people?" he asked, and vowed that he would not let these 'forces of negativity' succeed this time. "You will have to stay hand in hand with me to defeat these elements. Together we will ensure that people's mandate is respected in the future and no elected prime minister is insulted the way I have been," Nawaz told his supporters.

At the end of his speech, Nawaz once again thanked the people for coming out in his support and announced that he would spend the night in Rawalpindi and leave for Lahore at around 11am on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Nawaz Sharif was seen off by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ishaq Dar and other party officials as he left the Punjab House in Islamabad around noon, embarking on a long road trip back to his hometown via the Grand Trunk (GT) Road. However, disgruntled party leader Chaudhry Nisar, who was reportedly supposed to be in Nawaz's vehicle, was conspicuous by his absence in the rally.

Police and security officials estimated that until evening around 9,000 to 9,500 people and around 1,000 vehicles were part of the ousted prime minister's procession.

Tight security preparations had been made along Islamabad and Rawalpindi roads, with deployment of plain-clothed policemen as well as Elite Force commandos.

A mobile health unit was also prepped for the rally, which included a team of doctors who would provide medical services to the participants if needed.

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