Pak ex-PM caravan in Lahore as opposition plans own rallies

Islamabad, Aug 12, IRNA -- Huge caravan of former prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and his supports reached Lahore on Saturday afternoon as final destination of its 4-day tour and was welcomed by huge number of advocates.

Last month the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding any public office in 'Panama papers' case (financial corruption case).

After his ouster, Sharif decided to launch a huge caravan of supports from capital Islamabad to Lahore to demonstrate and prove his popularity once again even after the court verdict.

During the 4-day tour, the former PM stopped in different cities to receive massive and warm welcome by his advocates. In his speeches on the journey, Nawaz Sharif criticized the Supreme Court for issuing verdict of disqualification against the former PM. 'It is the people of Pakistan who will judge the best.'

He asked his advocates to support his political party PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) in 2018 general elections.

Meanwhile, opposition parties in Pakistan, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek have also announced to hold rallies in Rawalpindi and Lahore cities against Nawaz Sharif.

This is the biggest rally of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz since 2013 general elections when Nawaz Sharif came into the power.

Earlier the security organizations had warned Nawaz Sharif not to launch the rally. The rally also caused some problems for the people because the roads were blocked.

The opposition parties have seen the move of Nawaz Sharif as an attempt to challenge the Supreme Court verdict which according to them was given according to the law.

Nawaz Sharif is planning to stay in Lahore till 2018 elections although he has little chance to take part in election because of his disqualification.

The case against Sharif stems from documents leaked from the Panama-based 'Mossack Fonseca' law firm in 2016, which appeared to show that his daughter and two sons owned offshore holding companies and used them to buy properties in London.

Opposition parties in Pakistan saw the published documents as proof of alleged money laundering done by the premier.

This is the third time that Nawaz Sharif has failed to complete his tenure as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Pakistan will celebrate 70 years of independence from British rule on August 14 this year, but the country has never had a full-term prime minister, with numerous governments being interrupted by either military coups, judicial disqualification, or presidential decree.