When will the people's mandate be respected: Nawaz Sharif

Punjab CM asserted that PML-N has always preferred national benefits

The last known contact between top leadership was made when former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Ghani met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Astana about two months ago.

But media reports this week said the party appeared to backtrack on the plans, saying the PMLN would likely keep newly elected Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in place until next year's general elections.

In 2007, a bomb and gun attack killed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at an election rally in Rawalpindi, where Sharif was staying Thursday.

The opposition has decried Sharif's continued role in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after his disqualification by the apex court in the Panama Papers case.

According to Malik Mohammad, a spokesman in Punjab where Lahore is the provincial capital, security arrangements for Sharif's rally have finalized.

Sharif's convoy is expected to move through Jhelum, Kharian, Lala Musa and Gujrat to Gujranwala and then move through Kamoke, Muridke, Kala Shah Kaku, Ferozwala and Shahdara to enter his hometown of Lahore.

"The court decision was wrong", 24-year-old Malik Arsalan told AFP, voicing his hope that the rallies would propel Sharif to power once more.

Nawaz Sharif is leading a PML-N rally from Islamabad to Lahore via the Grand Trunk Road.

Sharif sought the people's promise to get their mandate respected. The public responded with big "No", prompting Sharif to say: "One court gave its decision, now this people court is given its decision". He said the people have rejected corrupt entities of the past. Talking about the issues faced by country, he said only Pakistan People's Party (PPP) can help bring back the prosperity.

Sharif's rally comes a day after firebrand opposition cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri returned home from overseas despite pending court cases against him in Pakistan.

After being driven for 12 hours surrounded by supporters showering his vehicle with rose petals from the capital Islamabad to the neighbouring city of Rawalpindi, normally a 30-minute drive, Sharif addressed the crowd shortly after midnight. Sharif's party initially wanted Abbasi to serve as an interim premier for 45 days until Sharif's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, secures a national assembly seat in a by-election.

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