LAHORE - Very strange though it may sound, Mian Nawaz Sharif was thrice elected as prime minister but was removed four times, twice during his first term. Each time he had a different ‘tormentor’.

He set on a protest journey from Islamabad to Lahore after being dismissed before the completion of his first term. He did not get a chance to protest his removal during his second term as he was immediately arrested by the powerful military and put on trial. Subsequently, he was banished to Saudi Arabia as a result of an agreement between him and the government.

If everything goes according to plan, Wednesday will be the third time the industrialist-turned-politician will be leading a protest rally to his hometown – Lahore. The route is being finalised by the leadership keeping in mind the security situation.

Mr Sharif was first dismissed by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on April 18, 1993.

From Prime Minister’s House he shifted to the residence of Chaudhry Shujaat Husain. Then on April 21, he reached Lahore by Awami Express, addressing people at Gujjar Khan, Jhelum, Kharian, Lalamusa, Gujrat, Wazirabad and Gujranwala railway stations. At the Lahore railway station he was received by a large number of people.

He bitterly criticised GIK for dismissing his government and said he would not relax unless he got the country rid of the octogenarian leader. Also, he expressed his resolve to repeal the 8th constitutional amendment, which empowered the president to dismiss a government.

From railway station he boarded a decorated truck at 8.15pm and via Brandreth Road and Circular Road reached Data Darbar well after midnight. Leaders like Ejazul Haq, Siddiq Khan Kanju (now late), Sheikh Rashid, Raja Nadir Pervaiz and Shehbaz Sharif accompanied Mr Sharif.

The Supreme Court heard the petition against the dismissal of the Sharif government and restored the prime minister and the assembly after 40 days.

But the differences between the president and the prime minister were so serious that the two could not co-exist. The system became dysfunctional because of which then COAS Gen Waheed Kakar asked both the president and the prime minister to quit.

After being removed yet again Mr Sharif reached Lahore by air on July 22, 1993. His plane landed at the old airport, where police commandos had been deployed in large numbers. The PML-N leaders and workers tried to enter the airport to welcome their boss but were baton-charged and teargassed. Even Ghulam Haider Wyne and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi were not allowed to meet their leader.

Mr Sharif led a procession to Girja Chowk, a few furlongs away from the airport, in two hours and a half. And then he reached his Model Town residence.

Now having been removed by the Supreme Court, Mr Sharif is preparing to return to Lahore at the head of a procession. He is launching a legal battle along with a political struggle to regain power. However, nobody knows what the nature has in store for him.