Pakistan's ruling party may field ousted premier Nawaz Sharif's wife Kulsoom or his daughter Maryam from the seat that fell vacant after he was disqualified from holding office, a senior party leader said yesterday.
Pakistan's Election Commission today issued a notice to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) asking it to appoint a new leader to replace former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as its chief.
Sharif's "caravan" took 12 hours to travel the 20 kilometers from Islamabad to Rawalpindi due to big crowds estimated as large as 30,000 that were walking and driving alongside his vehicle.
A group of PML-N supporters, led by the party's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president Amir Muqam, is on its way to Islamabad/Rawalpindi from Peshawar via the motorway.
Pakistan will celebrate 70 years of independence from British rule on August 14, but the country has never had a full term prime minister with numerous governments being interrupted by military coups, judicial disqualification, or presidential decree.
A five-member apex bench in the Panama Papers case verdict had found Sharif "unfit to hold office" on July 28. He has also planned to deliver speeches at important places during the rally. "I've been sent home [by the courts], so am I now not supposed to [actually] go home?" he asked, in response to a question about security concerns. Thousands of Sharif's supporters gathered during his departure from Islamabad to Lahore on Wednesday to show solidarity.
"People of Jhelumi should ask why was Nawaz ousted. We will do this in the interest of Pakistan", he said, claiming that there was "not even a single allegation of corruption".
Security has been heightened in Lahore ahead of the arrival of Sharif as PML-N members believe that the Sunday explosion of a fruit-laden parked truck here was meant to target the former Prime Minister's convoy that was scheduled to pass on way to Lahore.
Several other smaller rallies joined Sharif's on the way.
"I'm selling sunglasses here because wearing these makes you look like a big leader, or a politician, and people seem to like that", said Abrar Hussain, 45. "Is this not an insult to your vote?" he said.
The general elections in Pakistan is due next year.