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Nawaz Sharif riles up Lahore crowd for 'revolution', promises new 'programme' on Independence Day


Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's caravan arrived in Lahore from Gujranwala late on Saturday, the fourth and last day of his 'homecoming' rally, which had set off from Islamabad on August 9.

"Have you accepted Nawaz Sharif's disqualification?" he asked supporters in a brief stop at Shahdara.

"Everybody said they did not accept the [Supreme Court's] decision," he told the gathered crowd.

"Nobody has accepted this verdict. I will not sit in peace and accept it, and neither will you. Do you promise me?" he asked, receiving a resounding "yes!" in response.

"People of Lahore, we are here to change the current setup. Promise me, you will support me in my cause," he said.

"Nawaz Sharif will match you, step for step. We will transform Pakistan together," he said.

"Let's head to Data Darbar," he said, putting off the rest of his much-awaited final speech for later. It had been reported earlier that Sharif may not stop at Shahdara, but head to Data Darbar directly; however, he chose to briefly stop and address workers and urge them to head towards the venue of the final speech.

Meanwhile, a large gathering of PML-N loyalists had amassed at Data Darbar, choking the area.

Roads around Lahore remained blocked for the event, with traffic running only one-way. Shops had been directed to remain closed.

Nearly 8,000 police officers were deployed to ensure security at the venue of the speech, while 2,000 traffic wardens have been deputed to control traffic.

Lahore address

"What am I seeing today in Lahore?" Nawaz Sharif said as he started his address to a mammoth crowd at Data Darbar, Lahore. "I have never seen something like this before."

"You made me a prime minister, and five people — five people — disqualified me," the deposed prime minister said. "Tell me, is their verdict acceptable to you?"

"I have come to you after four days on the road. Everyone in Pakistan is protesting Nawaz Sharif's disqualification," he claimed.

"Those who disqualified Nawaz Sharif, are they themselves qualified [to make that decision]?" he said.

"Nawaz Sharif was not involved in any corruption or any misappropriation. They disqualified me for not taking a salary from my son — what is that to you? Whether I take something from my son or not, what is that to you?"

"They have been treating your prime ministers the same way for the past 70 years. Is this acceptable to you?" he asked.

Recalling that he was elected on promises that he would end electricity load-shedding and initiate development projects, Nawaz Sharif asked his supporters if he had not delivered.

"When so many good things are happening in the country, is this how a prime minister should be treated?"

"No! This is unacceptable to us!" he said.

"Three dictators have devoured 30 years of this nation's history. This cannot do! Pakistan has to change!" he roared.

"The passion and spirit I'm seeing is a harbinger of a revolution!" he said. "If this revolution does not arrive, nothing will change."

"If this revolution does not happen, we will become the worst nation in the region."

"No other country has experienced upheavals in its democratic process like we have," he claimed.

"Who are these people who have disrupted our progress? Do you not think that they should be held responsible?

"The people who've played with Pakistan for the last 70 years — don't you all think that they should be held accountable?" he asked the crowd, which responded with a resounding "yes!"

"You will have to take a brave stand against these people!" he urged.

"This country has already been a victim of a grave accident in 1971 — I hope that something similar never happens again," he said, recalling the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan after its political demands were not met.

"Is the Pakistan of 2017 not better than the Pakistan of 2013?" he asked, to loud shouts of "yes!"

"Shouldn't Nawaz Sharif have been praised for what he achieved?" he asked.

"Shouldn't the 200 million of this country hold dominion over its affairs?" he asked, again to resounding cheers of "yes!"

"Shouldn't the vote of the 200 million people of this country be held sacrosanct?" he asked.

"Nawaz Sharif will make this happen for you. If you order it, I will offer my life and my power to this cause," he roared.

"Nawaz Sharif has never deceived you," he continued. Despite everything — the dharnas and the conspiracies against our government — we have delivered on our promises, he claimed.

"Think of where we would be if we hadn't been held back [by our opponents]," he said.

"I wish for us to have a better future. To do that, we have to change the system. This system is plagued by a virus, and we have to cure it," he said. "We are not fit to stand up to the world. There's not country like ours in the world. It has been the same for 70 years. When Pakistan changes, your destiny will change too," he said.

"There's no social, judicial, political or economic justice. We will bring a system that will give justice to whoever has been wronged. We will dispense justice in 90 days," he thundered.

"We will need to make rules. We will need to change the Constitution. We will change the system. Whoever is not able to pay for legal representation, the government will pay for it!" he promised.

"Do you want this naya Pakistan or not? Where your vote is respected? Where your honour is preserved?" he asked, to resounding assent.

"The sacrifices we gave to create Pakistan have still not borne fruit. For 70 years, we have been meandering around. Look at our neighbours: do any of them suffer from the problems we do?" he asked.

"You will have to support me," he said. "I am no longer a prime minister, but you have to support me."

"I have come out for justice, not for power," he continued. "I have come not for my rule, but for your rule over this country."

"Swear with me, but swear truly," he urged. "Tell me, what you swear to, will you fulfill?" he asked, receiving loud cheers in response.

"Will you stand with me as we bring a revolution to Pakistan? It is 14th August day after tomorrow: remember the sacrifices of the people who made Pakistan. We have to honour their sacrifices. They must be rolling in their graves at what we have done with this country," he said.

Nawaz Sharif also promised the PML-N's support for proposals put forth by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani for inter-institutional dialogue.

"The Azad Jammu Kashmir prime minister is doing a good job. He's making fast progress and I fear that he will be cut down too: beware, I tell you."

"Pakistan's 200 million people are with you, and one day, God willing, the entire Kashmir will be with you," he said.

"I will never forget the love I have received on this trip. I have promised to bring my programme forth on August 14, and I have full faith you will back me when I do," he said.

"Tell me, will you remember your promise to me?" he roared, invited loud shouts of "we will!"




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Muslim Global: Nawaz Sharif riles up Lahore crowd for 'revolution', promises new 'programme' on Independence Day
Nawaz Sharif riles up Lahore crowd for 'revolution', promises new 'programme' on Independence Day
Muslim Global
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