Nawaz Sharif to take GT Road to Lahore to show popularity among Pakistanis

Sharif was disqualified as prime minister by the Supreme Court on July 28 in connection with the Panama Papers leaks scandal.

world Updated: Aug 06, 2017 23:46 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Nawaz Sharif,GT Road,PML-N
Nawaz Sharif is welcomed by supporters at Bhara Kahu area, on the outskirts of Islamabad. (AP)

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif will travel from Islamabad to Lahore via the famous Grand Trunk Road on Wednesday, in a bid to show his popularity among Pakistanis.

The former premier’s spokesman Asif Kirmani said Sharif’s schedule was changed at the “eleventh hour”. Initially, Nawaz was supposed to travel to Lahore via motorway — Pakistan’s high-speed highway —on Sunday, but PML-N lawmakers persuaded him to travel via the GT Road. Security concerns resulted in the travel plans being pushed to Wednesday.

Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court on July 28 in connection with the Panama Papers leaks scandal. Immediately after the court’s ruling, he and his family vacated the prime minister’s official residence in Islamabad and travelled to Murree, where he received a warm reception from party supporters and workers.

On Sunday, the PML-N chief, along with family members and aides, departed his residence in Changla Gali — a small village near Murree — and was greeted by supporters in Bhara Kahu on his way to Punjab House in Islamabad.

Sharif now will use to trip to Lahore — his first since his disqualification — to garner support for himself and the PML-N. He is also expected to make several stops along the way. Kirmani said the first pitstop will be at Jhelum city, where he is expected to address a public gathering. Sharif’s next stop will be in Gujranwala.

However, local police officers aren’t happy — they feel that Sharif’s trip exposes him to unnecessary risks.

First Published: Aug 06, 2017 17:06 IST