Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with his daughter Maryam were arrested Friday on their return to the country after they were convicted in a corruption case, less than two weeks before the country goes to polls.
Sharif was sent to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, while his daughter Maryam Nawaz was sent to Seihala Rest House, declared as temporary sub-jail.
The Accountability Court, according to Geo News, has issued imprisonment warrants for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam.
The plane carrying Sharif and Maryam landed at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport at 9.15 p.m. IST, nearly three hours late from the scheduled arrival.
The Etihad Airways flight EY243 arrived in Lahore from Abu Dhabi. Earlier they flew to the UAE capital from London, where Sharif’s ailing wife Kulsoom is battling for her life.
Officials from Pakistan’s anti-graft body, who were present at the airport, took them into custody as they came out of the plane.
The two were convicted on July 6 in the Evenfield properties case linked to the Sharif family’s ownership of four luxury flats in London.
Both Sharif, 68, and Maryam, 44, have been sentenced by an accountability court to 10 and seven years in prison respectively.
The National Accountability Bureau and the caretaker government had announced that they would be taken into custody upon their arrival at the airport. A helicopter is present at the airport to take them to Islamabad from there they will be sent to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi after producing them before the accountability court.
The Sharifs’ return could shake up an election race increasingly marred by accusations Pakistan’s powerful military is working behind the scenes to skew the contest in favour of ex-cricket hero Imran Khan, who describes Sharif as a “criminal” who deserves no support.
On the afternoon of July 13, thousands of police personnel had been deployed in the central city of Lahore and shipping containers placed along main roads, which could be used to block protesters from moving towards the airport, where Mr. Sharif is expected to land.
Mobile phone service was cut off by mid-afternoon in the city, as thousands of Sharif supporters began a march to the city centre in defiance of a ban on public gatherings.
Mr. Sharif decried the tactics ordered by the caretaker government that took over in June ahead of the general election, as Pakistan’s constitution requires.
“What credibility will these elections have when the government is taking such a drastic action against our people and this crackdown is taking place all over the country?” Sharif told Reuters at the airport in Abu Dhabi as he waited for a connecting flight to Lahore.