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Nawaz Sharif-Maryam Nawaz coming back to Pakistan today

13 July, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz left for Pakistan from London’s Heathrow airport on late Thursday. Earlier, the PML-N duo left for the airport from Harley Street Clinic, where Begum Kulsoom Nawaz is under treatment. Prior to his departure, Nawaz said that his wife opened her eyes for a few seconds on Thursday, regretting that he had to return to Pakistan leaving her in such a state.

Nawaz and Maryam are expected to land in Lahore around 6pm today, a week after an accountability court sentenced the father and daughter to 10 and seven years in prison, respectively, in the Avenfield reference case.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has arranged two helicopters for shifting the father-daughter duo to Adiala prison following their arrival in Lahore.

One chopper would be at Lahore airport, while the other would be in Islamabad, and the former premier and his daughter would be arrested upon landing at either of the two airports.

Interestingly, the helicopter Nawaz had been using while being the prime minister would take him to Adiala prison.

A 16-member NAB team has been tasked to arrest Nawaz and Maryam, whereas the anti-graft body has directed security personnel to remain alert today (Friday).

NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal has also warned that strict action will be taken against the people obstructing the arrest of the PML-N leaders.

Meanwhile, London Police on Thursday arrested Maryam Nawaz’s son, Junaid Safdar, for physically assaulting a man outside Avienfield apartments.

Police detained scores of supporters of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his party Thursday said, claiming it was an attempt to prevent them from staging a welcome-home rally upon the ousted leaders’ return from London.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said scores of its members were nabbed in the sweep in Punjab.

Nawaz Sharif, ousted by Supreme Court for corruption last July, was convicted last week and sentenced to 10 years over purchases of luxury apartments in London. His daughter, Maryam Nawaz, was sentenced to seven years in a case stemming from documents leaked from a Panama law firm. Both were sentenced in absentia while in Britain, where Nawaz Sharif’s critically ill wife is in hospital.

Nawaz has not yet appealed his conviction and is likely to be taken into custody as soon as he lands in Lahore. His brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who now heads the PML-N, confirmed the former premier is due back on Friday (today).

A police official who asked not to be identified said more than 100 PML-N workers had been detained in the crackdown. “We received instructions to take prominent PML-N activists from their areas to avoid a law and order problem,” the official said.

Muhammad Mehdi, the party’s media coordinator, said that nearly 500 workers had been detained in a ‘massive crackdown’, including raids on the homes of a number of party’s local councillors.

Punjab government’s caretaker Law Minister Shaukat Javed, however, said his office had not ordered the detentions. “Punjab government has not issued any kind of instructions to police for a crackdown against PML-N activists,” he said.

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