Nawaz’s rally reaches Dina, en route to Jehlum

RAWALPINDI: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s convoy departed Rawalpindi today and entered the town of Dina while en route to Jhelum where Nawaz is expected to address a gathering of supporters.

Though the former premier’s convoy took time to cross Katcheri Chowk, Rawalpindi, once through, it whizzed out of the garrison city, crossing Rawat and the GT Road towns that follow.

Nawaz began the second leg of his ‘homecoming rally’ earlier after leaving in his cavalcade from Punjab House.

On Wednesday, Sharif, the chief of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), set out from Punjab House, Islamabad after deciding to go home to Lahore via the GT Road earlier.

The amassing of supporters, however, could only get him as far as Rawalpindi — forcing him to spend the night in the city.

Prior to his departure, Nawaz held a meeting with top party leaders, including Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider.

The former premier formally set off his journey from Rawalpindi’s Kacheri Chowk, where hordes of supporters had gathered and traffic was suspended for the general public.

The former premier’s convoy includes senior party leaders Amir Muqam, Abid Sher Ali, Hanif Abbasi, Marvi Memon and Zaeem Qadri, among others.

The Rawalpindi traffic police also made special arrangements to ensure the rally passes through smoothly from Kacheri Chowk, along the GT Road, to Rawat’s T-Chowk.

Arrangements have been made for commuters to use alternative roads once the rally is under way, claimed the police.

The former premier is expected to move through Jhelum, Kharian, Lala Musa and Gujrat to Gujranwala, and then move through Kamoke, Muridke, Kala Shah Kaku, Ferozwala and Shahdra to enter his hometown of Lahore.

PML-N leader Zaeem Qadri, addressing the media earlier, said the party leaders will decide on the way whether to camp in Jhelum or somewhere else. The distance between Rawalpindi and Jhelum is around 100km, and usually takes around an hour or so in normal traffic.