JHELUM: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif continued a slow, defiant procession down the ancient GT Road Friday, inching closer to his stronghold of Lahore in a bid to rally supporters after his ouster.
He stayed in Jhelum for the night, where he told the swelling crowd of around 10,000 people that the Supreme Court´s decision to depose him last month after a corruption probe was an “insult” to Pakistanis.
Families crowded on rooftops in Jhelum and celebratory gunshots rang out while the crowd chanted “Look who is here, the tiger is here”.
Sharif, also nicknamed the Lion of Punjab, addressed the crowd from a makeshift stage behind bulletproof glass, his voice hoarse but bold as he insisted his conscience was “clean”.
Thousands also lined the road to catch a glimpse of the former leader as his convoy rolled down the Grand Trunk Road, a more than 2,000-year old trade route which leads from Chittagong in Bangladesh across India and Pakistan to the Afghan capital Kabul.
Sharif is travelling in a bomb-proof vehicle especially designed for the journey, meant as a show of strength after the Supreme Court´s decision has left his ruling party scrambling to replace him.
The convoy was surrounded by heavy security, with fears lingering after a truck bomb exploded in Lahore Monday, killing one person and injuring dozens.