Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, who were sentenced for long jail terms in corruption cases, were arrested as soon as their flight landed at Lahore’s Alla Iqbal Airport on Friday night.
Both had arrived in Lahore from London via Abu Dhabi. The two were taken to Islamabad in a private plane.
According to local media reports, dozens of security officials entered the plane as it landed and asked other passengers to exit before they confiscated the passports of Sharif and his daughter. The passports were seized by a three-member Federal Investigation Agency team.
Sharif and Maryam were flown in a small private plane to Islamabad. Upon landing in Islamabad, the two would either be flown to Adiala Jail or driven to Attock Jail, IANS quoted the local media reports.
Ahead of their return from London, Pakistan authorities had made massive arrangements for their arrival, with more than 10,000 police personnel deployed, parts of Lahore locked down, etc.
The authorities had made arrangements to use shipping containers to block roads in Lahore, after Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz workers threatened to march to the airport.
Senior PML-N leader and former Railways minister Kh Saad Rafique and other party leaders were put under house arrest for 30 days amid the father-daughter duo’s arrival. Mobile phone services also have been suspended partially.
However, Sharif, in a video released by his party on Friday, had claimed that he was being targeted by the military. “I know that… I will be directly taken to jail,” he said.
“I want to tell Pakistanis I have been doing this for you. Walk with me, join hands with me and change the destination of the country.”
The video showed Sharif seated on a plane. He left London, where his wife is being treated for cancer, late on Thursday and was expected to arrive in Lahore on Friday evening. He is accompanied by his daughter Maryam, who was sentenced to seven years in prison in the same case.
She shared the video of Sharif’s address on her Twitter account.
نواز شریف نے اپنا فرض نبھا دیا۔ اب آپ کی باری ہے ! pic.twitter.com/TqG2evM0wn
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) July 13, 2018
Sharif faces possible arrest and a 10-year prison sentence over the purchase of high-end properties in London, dealing a serious blow to his party’s bid ahead of already tense general elections on 25 July.