LAHORE: PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif will lead a rally to Lahore airport on Friday to receive ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Maryam who are returning from the UK.

“Preparations to give a historic reception to Nawaz and Maryam are under way. Shahbaz will lead the PML-N rally on July 13,” PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurenzeb told a news conference here on Tuesday.

She said July 13 would be a reflection of July 25 polls.

“Tens of thousands of people will gather in Lahore to welcome Mian Sahib and Maryam Bibi. It will be a peaceful rally,” she said.

The former information minister said Nawaz had pledged not to leave the people alone.

According to law experts, she said, the verdict against him would be “written in black words”. She said the PML-N never targeted the institutions and Mr Sharif and Ms Maryam were returning to face the court verdict.

“We are against the mindset that does not care about the constitution and gives no respect to the vote,” Ms Aurengzeb said. She also condemned the decision to suspend the local body representatives.

Earlier, Shahbaz Sharif presided over a meeting of the senior party leaders and reviewed the arrangements of gathering the party workers for the reception of the elder Sharif.

After the meeting Senator Mushahid Husain Syed told reporters that the return of Mr Sharif was a matter of life and death for the PML-N.

“Although Begum Kulsoom Nawaz is seriously ill, Nawaz Sharif has taken a brave decision to perform his national duty,” he said.

He said the accountability court decision had vindicated the stance of Mr Sharif that he had not committed a single rupee corruption.

Former minister Khurram Dastagir said July 13 would be a historic day. “If any hurdles are created in the way of the workers, they will remove them,” he said, adding that the leadership had given a clear message to the party workers to remain peaceful.

Punjab Assembly former speaker Rana Iqbal said the PML-N workers were eager to receive their leader and no hurdle could stop them.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2018