When the leaders of the Supreme Opposition Party arrived in the city under the banner of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), their eyes were focused on Gujranwala for the first power demonstration of the anti-government movement.
Maryam Nawaz, vice chairman of PML-N, left for the rally from her residence in Jati Umra, Lahore in the afternoon, and had arrived at the rally and was on stage.
She and other PML-N leaders welcomed PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who arrived at the venue with his motorcade after Maryam.
Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema Islam’s chief executive Fazlur Rehman’s convoy is still near Shahdara, outside Lahore.
In a tweet after 8pm, Maryam said it had taken her motorcade six hours to exit Lahore. “Now rushing to Gujranwala. [Have] crossed Kamoki,” she said.
“There is an ocean of people front, back, right & left. This is unprecedented,” she earlier wrote, sharing pictures and videos of the supporters accompanying her convoy.
Bilawal energised his supporters through a brief talk during the journey at Wazirabad, saying the opposition parties will jointly work to rid the people of “this oppressive ruler”.
He said the opposition had taken to streets against “historic” unemployment, inflation and poverty.
In the afternoon, thousands of supporters and workers arrived at Jinnah Stadium in Gujranwala from different cities in the form of rallies. When the opposition national anthem was played on the loudspeaker, they chanted slogans and waved the flags of the opposition parties belonging to the PDM alliance.
Many political figures including PML-N’s Marriyum Aurangzeb, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Asif, Khurram Dastagir and senior politician Javed Hashmi attended the meeting.
So far, Abbasi, Asif, Aurangzeb, Dastagir and Ahsan Iqbal, Hashmi of PML-N, Abdul Malik Baloch of KMT and Latif Khosa of PPP are all politicians speaking to the masses.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, contrary to the guidelines issued by the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) for public gatherings, there is almost no social distancing and most participants are not wearing masks.
According to our Gujranwala news agency, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people attended the rally.
The stadium has a capacity of 35,000. Nearly 10,000 seats have been arranged on the ground, and the various paddocks in the stadium can accommodate about 25,000 people.