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RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) workers and supporters took out a rally against the verdict of the NAB court of Islamabad on Friday.

Hundreds of PML-N workers and supporters gathered on 6th Road and moved towards Liaquat Bagh.

Hanif Abbasi, Raja Hamid Advocate, Malik Shakil Awan, Sardar Naseem and Haji Pervaiz led the protesters.

They burnt tyres and blocked Murree Road.

The protesters chanted slogans in support of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Capt Mohammad Safdar who were sentenced in the Avenfield reference case.

More than 100 police personnel cordoned off the route of the rally to avoid any untoward incident.

Addressing the protesters, the local PML-N leaders rejected the court verdict against the top leadership of the party saying the judgement would be remembered in black words.

They said there were certain legal loopholes in the verdict which would be challenged in the apex court.

Local party leaders claim there are certain legal loopholes in the verdict

They said Mr Sharif and his family members were being victimised politically because they wanted to bring a change in the lives of the poor people.

The party leaders said many other politicians were involved in corruption but none of them was touched.

They said the PML-N leaders were struggling for the restoration of democracy in the country to provide justice to all and give respect to the vote.

The protesters said they were committed to the cause and would sacrifice for democracy.

The PML-N leaders also announced a protest schedule for next week and said the party would set up hunger strike camps in the city and other parts of the country.

After the verdict, the PML-N candidates continued running their election campaign as per routine but took to the streets soon after the announcement made by Nawaz Sharif in London to return to the country.

Former MNA Malik Shakil Awan told Dawn that the workers and supporters were waiting for the response of Mr Sharif before holding the protest rally.

He said the verdict of the accountability court was expected as the establishment wanted to keep Mr Sharif and his daughter out of the elections.

Former MNA Malik Abrar said people would support the PML-N and were ready to launch a campaign in favour of their leader.

Former MNA Haji Pervaiz said the protest campaign would continue till Mr Sharif got justice.

“We will continue our struggle as no leader has the courage like Nawaz Sharif who put the country on the path of progress,” said Yasir Aslam, a party worker from Railway Road.

Separate rallies were also taken out in different parts of the federal on Friday.

Former federal minister Tariq Fazal Chaudhry led a rally, comprising over 200 people.

The participants gathered at Aabpara Chowk where speeches were delivered in support of Mr Sharif.

Earlier, there were reports about a protest in Aabpara after which police were sent there to maintain law and take strict action against the protesters.

However, the rally remained peaceful and later dispersed.

SHO Aabpara Abdul Razaq said the participants of the rally remained peaceful and later dispersed after their leaders delivered speeches.

Another rally was held at Chirah by PTI leader Raja Khurram Nawaz, who is contesting election from the capital.

According to the police, the participants of the rally welcomed the court verdict against Mr Sharif.

Earlier in the day, the capital police along with paramilitary troops remained deployed in and around the accountability courts.

Around 917 personnel were deployed around the court.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2018