Pakistan: Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif have been arrested in Lahore. Both the convicts have returned to Pakistan from London after a week of conviction in the Avenfield property case.
Upon their arrival, their passports were confiscated. Sharif’s mother, along with a huge number of party workers reached near the airport to greet them.
Pakistan Muslim League’party chief – Nawaz (PML- N) and Maryam made a stopover at the Abu Dhabi airport where their flight was delayed by three hours.
They duo landed at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport at 9.10 pm IST via Etihad Airways flight EY243.
They duo was escorted via helicopters to the Adiala prison in Rawalpindi, where they will be held for one day. They will then be transferred to Attock Fort Jail. The Pakistani government taken all the measures to ensure that the arrest goes as smoothly as possible.
The Punjab government had imposed Section 144 (unlawful assembly) in Lahore. Security was beefed up across the city and the roads leading up to the airport were blocked to prevent the PML-N workers from reaching there.
Around 10,000 security personnel had been deployed throughout the city to maintain law and order. Jammers were installed all over the city to prevent media coverage. Internet and mobile services were also suspended.
Due to the clashes between police and PML-N, around 378 people had been arrested and 5 policemen were injured in incidents of stone pelting and shelling.
The government had forbidden the accused leader’ family members from meeting him.
Meanwhile, PML-N workers had gathered at the Lohari gate in the afternoon, aiming to take out a peaceful procession to the airport. Around 8,000 people gathered to greet their leader in the city.
The Lahore deputy commissioner issued a statement saying that the rally was illegal and the party would be held responsible for any untoward incident. As reported by Pakistan daily Dawn, “all party ticket holders in Lahore had been directed to join in the rally at different points along with the workers from their constituencies”.
The police force had issued detention orders for the senior PML-N leaders.
Local media reports claimed that several important leaders had either been detained or placed under informal house arrest to prevent them from mobilising supporters against Sharif’arrest.
Maryam’s tweet sharing a photo of the father-daughter bidding farewell to Nawaz’s ailing wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz in a hospital made people react on the cruel nature of the sentence. Kulsoom was in a month-long coma and opened her eyes just before her husband and daughter bid her adieu.
Nawaz and Maryam were named in the Panama Papers leak for owning illegal property in London worth Rs 63 crore. On July 28, 2017, the Pakistan Supreme pronounced him guilty and disqualified him from the post of prime minister. The father-daughter duo was convicted on charges of corruption for ten and eight years, respectively. Mohammad Safdar, Sharif’s son-in-law, has been granted one-year jail term as well.
Sharif continued to maintain that his return was for the welfare of the nation and democracy. In a video released online, he was heard saying, “I am coming back for the future generations of Pakistan. Mein karz chukane aa raha hun jo mujh par wajib hai.”