ECP asks PML-N to replace Nawaz Sharif as party leader

Sharif plans to spend at least two nights in as many cities along the Grand Trunk Road while leading the rally from Islamabad.

The former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was going to home in Lahore via G.T.Road after the verdict of the supreme court, he said. "This is not a million march this is a ten million march", he said downplaying criticism that participants in the rally were less than expected.

Abbassi also said in the interview that the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz would make a decision whether his office term would last for 45 days, as planned initially, or longer.

Sharif, speaking to reporters at the Punjab House, asked: "When will the court punish the dictator who says "dictatorship is better than democracy".

Sharif on Tuesday avoided questions on the chances of him returning as Prime Minister, but hinted that he would remain active in politics.

Reports suggested that his brother Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and his predecessor Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan were among several close figures who warned the ousted PM against proceeding to Lahore by road.

Meanwhile, Canada-based cleric of Pakistani-origin Tahir-ul-Qadri, who has returned to Lahore, criticised Sharif's roadshow and demanded that he should change it.

Sharif was seen off in Islamabad by Abbasi, the new cabinet and other party officials, Sharif's political adviser Asif Kirmani said.

The lawyer had also argued that it had also been revealed in print media that Election Commission of Pakistan directed PML to choose new head of the party as a disqualified person could not lead a party.

Sharif has endured fraught relations with the military during his three stints in power and some of his allies have hinted elements of the army were involved in his Supreme Court disqualification.

The court announced its verdict in connection with the Panama Papers case. He has vowed to get justice for eight of his supporters killed in anti-government rallies in 2014.

  • Rogelio Becker