The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief, along with family members and aides, departed his residence in Changla Gali earlier and was greeted by scores of supporters in Bharakahu.
The former premier’s convoy was surrounded by PML-N supporters, prompting Sharif to roll down the window and wave to the crowd.
Sources said the PML-N supremo will be staying the night in Punjab House and proceed to Lahore Sunday morning.
It is yet unclear what route — motorway or GT Road — Sharif will take to travel to Lahore. However, sources said the PML-N plans to turn the journey into a public mobilisation campaign with pit-stops where Sharif can interact and address party workers as a sign of strength.
Last Sunday, the former premier vacated the Prime Minister House and proceeded to Murree along with family members.
Since then, the country has seen a new prime minister — PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi — assume office.
Sharif has spent most of his time in Murree in hectic consultations over the formation of the new cabinet. The former premier chaired back-to-back meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, which finally led to the swearing-in of the new cabinet on Friday.
The Supreme Court, in its judgment in the Panama Papers case, disqualified Sharif under Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution over his failure to disclose un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from a UAE-based company.
The verdict stated that he was not ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’, as per the country’s Constitution.
The PML-N has decided to file a review petition against the verdict. However, the party’s troubles are not over as it gears up for the by-election in Sharif’s Lahore constituency — NA-120 — on September 17.
According to some reports, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to contest the by-poll and assume office of prime minister. However, there is a chance Abbasi could continue as the prime minister till the next general elections and the party gives the NA-120 ticket to someone else.
Moreover, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is set to file several corruption references against Nawaz, his children Maryam, Hussain and Hasan, son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, among others, in an accountability court.
According to the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict, NAB is supposed to file the references within six weeks of the court’s judgment, while the accountability court hearing the case has to wrap up proceedings in six months.
It is in this context that the PML-N is attempting to reach out to the ‘masses’ and maintain its support base.