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LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the Constitution will have to be amended if we want to protect the sanctity of vote.
Addressing a big gathering at Data Darbar here on Saturday at the last leg of his rally, he said if we want a better future for the country, we will need to change the system, because this system is infested with a virus which will need to be removed to keep the country intact.
“This country has already suffered great losses in the past because of these viruses; what caused the East Pakistan debacle and what is going on in Balochistan right now?
“The country cannot withstand another catastrophe like these,” warned Nawaz.
In what seemed to be a two-pronged strategy regarding his vow to change the system, Nawaz announced acceptance of the proposal by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani of amending the Constitution through mutual consensus for eradication of anomalies in the law which had led to the removal f majority of elected prime ministers through external forces at work.
He said those playing with the destiny of the country should be held accountable for their deeds.
He said the voices he heard all through his journey were the voices of a revolution, demanding reestablishment of the respect of their vote. For which he took a solemn vow from them to walk with him.
“I am not afraid of anyone, and I will not sit back home now, unless I change the future of this country,” he said in a rather emotionally charged and unrestrained address at the end of his four-day journey from Islamabad to Lahore.
Nawaz said that there is no other country in the world where same has been going on for the last 70 years. Every single one of the democratically elected prime minister was sent packing while dictators were allowed to rule the country for decades at a stretch. “Was every prime minister wrong? Every single one of them,” he asked.
Talking about the powers behind his deposition and of those before him, Nawaz asked from thousands present at Data Darbar, “Who are these people who do all this? These people who have been playing this dirty game with the country, shouldn’t they be held accountable?” And the roaring crowd vehemently responded to every line of his speech.
Like he had been doing all along his journey, he once again asked if the people accepted the decision of his disqualification. “I’ve been travelling for four days, everyone in the country is protesting over my disqualification. They ask who are these people who have disqualified Nawaz, Are they qualified themselves?,” added Nawaz.
The former PM said that the people sent him to Islamabad as a prime minister with the power of their vote and blessings of God and “five people” declared him as disqualified. It wasn’t proven in the courts that he had taken any bribe, kickbacks, or did any embezzlement. And the very next day, they declared him disqualified for not receiving salary from him son, he said. “Who are they to ask me why I did or did not take the salary,” he asked.
Calling for the people’s support, Nawaz told his supporters that it is time for a revolution. A revolution that would bring back the sanctity of the vote of 20 crore people; otherwise, the country might face another tragedy like the Fall of Dhaka. “This country is the property of the 20 crore Pakistanis! Not a handful people. And the rights of these 20 crore should be given,” he stressed.
Presenting his performance sheet in front of his voters, he said that his government was evidently performing at all front from energy to industry but he was deposed anyways.
Earlier, when he reached at Shahdara Chowk, Nawaz Sharif told a big gathering that the court of people had rejected his ouster.
“Have you accepted this decision (of disqualification)?” the premier asked the charged crowd while entering Lahore and the latter loudly responded with “NO....”
The rally left for Lahore from Gujranwala on Saturday afternoon and had a brief stop at Shahdara.
Nawaz said nobody had accepted this disqualification and added that he would not sit in peace and accept it. “Neither will the people,” he said.
He said his supporters elected him but some people sent him packing and humiliated their mandate.
“It all started with Panama case, but he was removed for Iqama,” said the former premier who was disqualified by a five-member Supreme Court bench last month.
“There is no stigma of corruption on me,” claimed Nawaz.
He reiterated that he was disqualified for not taking salary from his son. “Together we will change the destiny of the country, you promise?” “I promise,” said the former premier while urging the people to support him.
He said the people of Shahdara had always supported him and the PML-N. The charged crowd responded with slogans “Mian Sahib, I love you.”
He also urged people to join his rally to Data Darbar.
Nawaz reached Shahdara Chowk around 9pm amid vociferous sloganeering by his party activists, who had gathered at both sides of the GT Road to welcome him. The convoy of Nawaz also included hundreds of vehicles and senior party figures including Federal and State Ministers Mushahidullah Khan, Rana Tanveer, Abid Sher Ali, Talal Chuadhry, MNAs Irfan Dogar, Shazra Mansab, MPAs from Sheikhupura-Nankana including Faizan Virk, Rana Arshad and others. The area between Ravi bridge to the Ravi Toll Plaza witnessed mammoth crowd, mostly from the National Assembly constituencies like NA-118 and NA-131, falling in Lahore and Sheikhupura districts, respectively. Holding banners, placards, party flags and vehicles displaying huge portraits of PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, the party members kept chanting the slogans of ‘Wazir-e-Azam Nawaz Sharif.’
Upon his arrival at Shahdara Chowk, Nawaz was welcomed by MNA from NA-118 Malik Riaz, MPA PP-138 Ghazali Salim Butt and other local leaders.
Families comprising women and children also turned up to the GT Road in large numbers to either see or receive the former prime minister. Besides, rooftops were also full of people at the time when the rally entered Lahore through the Toll Plaza.
“You are great,” said Nawaz while addressing the charged crowd at Shahdara.
“This love will increase further, lets go to Lahore now, we have to change the destiny of Pakistan,” said Nawaz in his brief address.
Earlier, in Ferozewala, district Sheikhupura, Nawaz was received by the local party office-bearers who joined in his journey towards Lahore. Music remained a permanent feature of the PML-N GT Road rally and songs like ‘Sher Humara’ was constantly played at the different camps set up for the reception of Nawaz Sharif.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan faced vehement criticism at the hands of the PML-N stalwarts who kept shouting slogans against him and terming him an agent.
Stringent security measures were taken during the PML-N GT Road rally and total 10,000 police personnel were deployed to avert any untoward incident. The convoy of Nawaz Sharif was surrounded by hundreds of police vehicles and the traffic wardens were also deputed at different points to maintain the smooth flow of traffic.
Nawaz Sharif said in his speech in Muridke that the power of vote would be restored through a revolution and only the people would have the right to rule this country.
Nawaz asked the people whether they have accepted the decision about his disqualification and if they were ready for a revolution in the country. Charged People responded against the decision of his disqualification and in favour of a revolution in the country.
He said the decision of his disqualification brought a bad name for the country and damaged the respect and honour of Pakistan in the comity of nations.
He said: "Few people cannot be the owner of this country, because 200 million people are the real owners of this country and the PML-N will provide this right to them."
He told the people of Pakistan not to get disappointed because they would be the victor and those would face defeat who have held the nation hostage for the last 70 years.
"Stand by me and don't get demoralised because the final victory will be yours," he told the cheering crowd of the rally.
He said Nawaz Sharif had been disqualified only for not taking salary from his son and no charges of corruption were proved against him.
Nawaz said: "If I would have been involved in corruption, you would have dragged me out of my office yourself.
“Did you not send Nawaz to Islamabad after making him prime minister?" But I have been thrown out of power by someone else," he added.
The former PM said law and order had been restored in the country including Balochistan and now construction of a motorway from Lahore to Karachi is nearing completion.
He claimed had he been allowed to complete his constitutional term as the prime minister, there would have been no unemployment in the country.
Earlier, former prime minister with his caravan, left for Lahore on Saturday from Gujranwala where he stayed overnight after addressing a large public meeting.
It was the fourth and the last day of his 'homecoming' rally that set off from Islamabad on August 9.
His caravan was expected to leave at 11am but the plan was delayed due to a meeting between Nawaz Sharif and his close aides.
Thousands of people were present on the roads in Gujranwala to see off Nawaz Sharif.
Both sides of Grand Trunk (GT) Road from Gujranwala to Lahore were closed for general traffic to provide fool-proof security to the caravan of Nawaz Sharif.
MNA Rana Mehmoodul Hasan along with a group of workers of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) sacrificed two goats as 'sadqa' at Aiman Chowk and prayed for security of Nawaz Sharif and participants of his caravan.
When the caravan reached Kamoke a large number of people were there to receive their leader. Nawaz Sharif waved to the party supporters and moved forward towards Lahore.