Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) started its long march against the government on Saturday afternoon from Lahore amid a massive crowd.
A large number of people had started gathering at PML-N secretariat in Model Town since the morning. PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz reached Model Town in the afternoon after offering prayers at the grave of her mother Kulsoom Nawaz at Jati Umrah. There were around 2,000 to 3,000 people at Model Town secretariat before her arrival but the crowd swelled to over 5,000 when she started leading the caravan along with her cousin and Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz.
Both the scions of Sharif family were wearing “Imam Zamin” on their arms. It was for the first time that both Maryam and Hamza were sharing the same container to lead the long march. It is worth mentioning here that the PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif had also led a long march from the same place in 2009 during the movement for the restoration of judiciary. A large number of PML-N lawmakers and workers were following the container of Maryam and Hamza amid massive sloganeering. The workers of PML-N were chanting full-throat slogans in favor of Nawaz Sharif. The slogan “Wazir-e-Azam Nawaz Sharif” was being chanted on the roads of Lahore while songs were being played to charge the workers.
The rally passed through Ferozepur Road, Ichhra, Qartaba Chowk, Lytton Road, Secretariat Chowk, Data Darbar, Minar-e-Pakistan and Shahdara before leaving Lahore. Parvez Rasheed, Maryam Aurangzeb, Muhammad Zubair, Kh Imran Nazir, Daniyal Aziz and some other leaders were seen on the container with Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz. MPA Jugnu Mohsin, who got elected as an independent candidate from Okara but later joined the treasury benches in Punjab Assembly, also joined the rally. She severely criticized inflation and bad economic policies of the PTI government.
The caravan swelled to over 10,000 people near Ichhra. Both Maryam and Hamza offered the Maghrib prayer on the container. The rally further swelled to over 15,000 people when it entered the main city near Mozang while it stretched over around two kilometers. The caravan was warmly welcomed at Data Darbar where thousands of people were already waiting for the rally. Special prayers were offered in front of the shrine of the Sufi saint for the prosperity and development of Pakistan.
Talking to Minute Mirror at the rally, MPA Hina Pervaiz Butt said that the long march had rightly proved that Maryam Nawaz was the most popular leader of Pakistan and she was truly a crowd puller. “After more than eight hours, we are still in the jurisdiction of Lahore as there is a sea of people on the roads,” she said. Butt added that she has traveled with Maryam Nawaz in her earlier rallies in Sargodha, Faisalabad, Narowal, Pakpattan and Bahawalpur and the response of the public had always been overwhelming whenever she lead the caravan. “Imran Khan should immediately resign as the people are demanding so,” she said.
Till the filing of this news, the caravan was near Ravi Bridge and had swelled to over 25,000 people. It is one of the largest rallies in the recent history of Lahore, which is a stronghold of PML-N. A large number of people were also waiting at Shahdara where Maryam Nawaz was likely to address the workers. Maryam Nawaz said on Saturday that the no-confidence motion against PM Khan had succeeded and they were going to Islamabad to bid farewell to him.
Meanwhile, the main convoy of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) led by its chief, Fazlur Rehman, reached Islamabad’s G9 on Saturday. While talking to media in Islamabad, Rehman said that the whole country was going to the federal capital to attend the joint opposition’s public gathering on March 28. He said that everyone was demanding the ouster of the PTI government and fresh elections.