Lahore: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s caravan moved towards Shahdara on Saturday while moving through Kala Shah Kaku.
Due to heavy congestion on the roads, vehicles which are part Nawaz’s caravan have been asked to stop before Ravi bridge.
Only vehicles belonging to Nawaz and PML-N leaders have been allowed to proceed. Participants of the rally have been advised to proceed on foot from the bridge to Daata Darbar.
The local administration has instructed workers to park their vehicles at Shahdara.
A large number of PML-N supporters have arrived at the venue. Local administration has stopped the Metro route between Shahdara and Daata Bar.
Security personnel have conducted a sweep of the stage set-up at Shahdara to ensure security of the former premier.
Metal detectors and sniffer dogs were used by security forces to mitigate the risk of any untoward incident.
“Today, Nawaz Sharif has come to you. You made Nawaz Sharif the PM, you sent Nawaz Sharif to Islamabad. There is no corruption against me. No irregularities. No discrepancies,” he said to loud chants of support from the crowd.
“Tell me, do you accept the [Supreme Court] verdict? Do you accept this insult to your mandate?” the ousted prime minister questioned.
Nawaz lamented that Pakistan was “facing ridicule” around the world because of the apex court’s judgment.
“This is a joke. Pakistanis reject this decision. I will see to it that your vote is respected. PML-N will see to it,” Nawaz vowed.
On Saturday morning, Nawaz’s convoy left Gujranwala for Lahore on the fourth day of the rally.
The former PM’s cavalcade made its first stopover at Kamoke, as eager supporters gathered on the route in hundreds to greet him.
Preparations to welcome the ousted prime minister in Lahore were in full swing, as locals decorated Shahdara Chowk and other venues with posters and banners of Nawaz Sharif.
Ravi Road, all the way from Shahdara to Daata Darbar, was closed to traffic from 9am onwards ahead of Nawaz’s arrival.
PML-N workers and supporters set up stages in different areas of the city as part of the preparations to greet the former PM.
Nawaz’s cavalcade will enter Lahore through Shahdara later today, where Nawaz will address the public.
A group of PML-N workers, led by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, accompanied Nawaz during the final leg of the rally.
Addressing a consultative meeting in Gujranwala before setting off for Lahore, Nawaz said the Supreme Court judges did not do justice to him.
“If not taking salary from my son is crime then taking salary from my son would also have been declared a crime,” he lamented, adding, “The decision to disqualify me was pre-planned.”
“It is about time the public’s votes are valued,” he said.
Meanwhile, City Traffic Police Lahore (CTPL) has issued a comprehensive traffic plan during the rally, which is expected to reach Lahore later in the day.
According to the plan, Gujranwala GT Road to Imamia Colony Phatak, Shahdara, Niazi Chowk, Timber Market, Azadi Flyover, U-turn, Peer Makki and Daata Darbar will remain closed for traffic. The commuters were directed to avoid travelling on GT Road and use the motorway instead.
The motorway will be opened for all kinds of traffic from Thokar Niaz Baig and Babu Sabu interchange. The Sagian Bridge will also be opened for motorists coming from Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Sheikhopura.
The Metro Bus service will be closed from Shahdara to MAO College, but will continue to run from MAO to Gajjumata.
A suspicious man was arrested outside Daata Darbar on Saturday, police said, near a stage set to greet Nawaz Sharif upon his arrival in Lahore.
The man was transferred to an undisclosed location for interrogation, police added.