"Nawaz Sharif’s plan to travel to Lahore in a cavalcade on GT Road is a deliberate attempt to continue undermining the Supreme Court of Pakistan by calling into question its decision on the Panama case," said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in a statement shared on Twitter on Sunday.
The earlier plan of Nawaz returning to Lahore on Sunday through the motorway was put off until Wednesday. Punjab Information Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman had said that the decision to change the programme had been taken on “public pressure”, adding that the journey to Lahore [on GT Road] would be completed at least in two days.
Without going into specific details, Khan also alleged that Sharif, through the GT Road journey, was attempting to pressurise the National Accountability Bureau which is looking into cases against the Sharif family.
Khan, whose party is known to organise frequent rallies and dharnas, said, “It is ironic that when PTI was peacefully protesting to seek justice for rigging and later against the corruption unveiled in the Panama Papers, the Sharif government was accusing it of derailing the system and now, Sharif and his cohorts are protesting to actually bring down the democratic system by refusing to accept the SC verdict.”
The PTI chief also accused the recently ousted Nawaz Sharif of using state resources even though he doesn't hold any office. "He is continuing to use state resources – from funds to government machinery including Punjab police and local governments – to destroy the judiciary and thereby the democratic system which is moving towards accountability of the powerful for the first time."
A grand homecoming
PML-N is banking on its workers for making the return of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to his hometown a ‘historic’ occasion to get the much-needed political mileage in the face of the challenges its government is facing.
The PML-N workers from across Punjab are being mobilised by the local leadership to reach Lahore and other points to welcome their leader who was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case on July 28.
Most city roads have been decorated with welcome banners that read: “A leader does not need any post… as he lives in hearts.” The banners are from the local leaders and ministers as well.
“Although there are security issues in travelling on the GT Road, but Nawaz is a brave leader,” Rehman had said.
Earlier, PTI alleged that state machinery was being used in a bid to make Nawaz’s return to Lahore a ‘historic’ event.
“The Punjab government is using all its resources to make the show (Nawaz’s return to Lahore) a success,” PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan said, questioning why National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq was overseeing the arrangements regarding Nawaz’s return to Lahore.