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Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif sped up his 'homecoming' rally on day 2, leaving Rawalpindi in a haste amidst thin crowds.

The sudden shift in gears left everyone guessing as to what Nawaz was thinking and what the purpose of the rally really was.


Purpose of the rally


Nusrat Javed, analyst

"I don't call this is a power show. Nawaz is trying to show that despite the Supreme Court verdict, his vote bank is intact and his voters and party are standing with him."

"The results that will come will be seen later; right now, this appears to be the purpose."

"Even if he reaches Lahore and ten million people welcome him, the Supreme Court is not going to call an emergency session and revoke their decision. The decision has come and will not be revoked regardless of the number of people he gathers and there is no room for appeal on an SC decision."

Abid Sher Ali shouts slogans as supporters wave at their leader. — AP/File
Abid Sher Ali shouts slogans as supporters wave at their leader. — AP/File

Iftikhar Shirazi, journalist

"I did not get any impression that his claims of civilian supremacy are taking hold. The senior leaders of the party are not standing with him so what he is saying is either not being accepted or not being understood."

"The people standing with him do not have a very long background: what message is he sending to his voters? The message that goes across would be that the senior leadership is not with him."

Zahid Hussain, senior journalist

"It appears that he is trying to increase the morale of his supporters by going through GT Road. The next political battle will take place in the next few months and he knows that no matter how big the crowd is, the court's decision cannot change. This is preparation for the NAB references."

Nawaz responds to his supporters at Sohawa
Nawaz responds to his supporters at Sohawa

Asad Rahim, anchorperson

"Article 16 says that every citizen has the right to assembly anywhere so there is no question of morality. But there is confusion even in the party about the purpose of this rally. Is it against the SC? But you [Nawaz Sharif] have accepted the decision. Is it a show of power, meant to sway the Election Commission of Pakistan? Or is it just a homecoming rally?"

"If this is a protest, it is not okay; because he has said that he has accepted the SC decision despite reservations. He has changed his position on [Yusuf Raza] Gilani's disqualification as well."

"They are now trying to play the victim and act like the judiciary did not keep the peoples' mandate safe. That they did not keep its sanctity intact. The PML-N is trying to draw a parallel between a coup and this case. They could have made amendments to the law, they could have declared all their assets, they could have done all those things to protect the peoples' mandate, but they failed [themselves] and are now blaming the judiciary."

Nawaz addresses the crowd at Jhelum
Nawaz addresses the crowd at Jhelum

Zahid Khan, Awami National Party

"PML-N never understands what mistakes it is making when it is in power, and every time its government is overturned, it goes to the people, reminding them that it was their mandate that brought them to power."

"They should tell the people who has conspired against them. This is our history: every prime minister ever removed has said that there was a conspiracy [against them]."

"All offices of the government, the judiciary and the army, all have their jobs. When they overstep, there is a conspiracy, but we never make laws that restrict these offices from overstepping their bounds. If we still do not learn, we will continue to cry about conspiracies every few years."

Talat Hussain, journalist

"This is an outreach campaign. That is the biggest net gain. He is also establishing the narrative that the court's verdict is being challenged."


Nisar's continued absence


Nusrat Javed

"When a difficult time comes, he [Nisar] is nowhere to be seen. He is not angry — he is waiting for when the cases against PML-N begin and Nawaz gets arrested."

"With his reputation, he may become the Farooq Sattar of PML-N. So, for me, his absence is not shocking."

"Khawaja Asif is not there because he is holding a ministerial post now and so would have been advised to not be seen at protests. His situation is different from Chaudhry Nisar's."

Iftikhar Shirazi

"I don't think he is going to say anything, but the way he got out of the car, he is trying to give the impression that his back is in pain and he cannot travel for long. He is in the National Assembly to tell people that he is forced not to be with Nawaz because of his back."