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Deposed Pakistani Prime Minister Starts Two Days Of Rallies


Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif crowd around his car as his convoy enters Rawalpindi on August 9.

Deposed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on August 9 began two days of rallies in a move aimed at demonstrating his political influence, after a Supreme Court decision disqualified him from office late last month over undeclared assets.

Sharif launched the "caravan" from Islamabad to his hometown of Lahore, some 400 kilometers south of the capital, despite concerns voiced by close advisers about security for himself and the crowds he is expected to attract.

Thousands of Sharif party supporters thronged the capital to take part in the rally, setting up camps all along the itinerary Sharif is expected to follow.

The march is taking place amid tight security, with large numbers of police officers and paramilitary soldiers deployed both in Islamabad and along the Grand Trunk Road, the main highway connecting the capital with Lahore.

Sharif, 67, resigned on July 28 shortly after the country's Supreme Court ordered his removal from office in connection with corruption charges stemming from the Panama Papers leak in 2016.

Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif crowd around his car as his convoy leaves Islamabad on August 9.
Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif crowd around his car as his convoy leaves Islamabad on August 9.

The five-member panel's ruling came immediately after an investigative committee concluded that Sharif's family could not account for what it said was vast wealth in offshore companies.

The court also ordered a criminal probe into the Sharif family's assets.

Sharif's ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, which has a solid majority in parliament, elected his close aide Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as his replacement.

In a display of party unity, Abbasi hugged Sharif as he boarded a vehicle along with his supporters.

Sharif, who was prime minister three times, says his removal from office did not mean the end of his political career. He said he plans to file a review petition in an effort to get his disqualification reversed.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa

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