Live Updates: Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan
Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz have reached Abu Dhabi on their way to Lahore. They are returning to Pakistan to face an imminent arrest after nearly a month-long stay in London.
Nawaz Sharif, who was convicted in absentia last week of corruption and sentenced to 11 years in jail, commenced his journey to homeland from the London’s Heathrow Airport late on Thursday.
The father-daughter duo, who traveled to London just before Eid ul Fitr to be with ailing Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, are scheduled to arrive in Lahore on Friday at 6:15pm.
Last week, an accountability court sentenced the former three-time premier to 11 years in jail and handed 8-year imprisonment to his daughter after their conviction in the Avenfield apartments case.
09:45am – Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has released a video message ahead of his arrival in Pakistan, asking people to support him in his struggle which he said he is waging for the future of coming generations.
09:31am – Pakistani officials in Abu Dhabi said that they have not been informed of NAB team in the Gulf state adding that under international laws Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz can not be arrested without completing legal formalities.
08:45am – The flight from London landed at Abu Dhabi airport earlier today where the PML-N leaders would stay for seven hours before departing for Lahore.
08:00am – 10,000 police officers will be deployed across Lahore on Friday to ‘maintain law and order’ as the PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif arrive.
03:20am – PML-N leaders, including Abid Sher Ali, claimed that authorities have launched crackdown on party workers who wanted to go to airport to welcome their leader Nawaz Sharif, saying hundreds of supporters including some local bodies’ representatives have been detained.
02:40am – Security has also been beefed up at New Islamabad International Airport ahead of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s arrival .
Airports Security Force (ASF) and law enforcing agencies reviewed the security arrangements. Special contingents of commandos and police officials have been deployed at the airport.
02:10am – National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal has summoned an emergency meeting for today (Friday) in wake of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz’s return to Pakistan to face jail term.
The meeting will review the overall situation pertaining to the return of former prime minister.
01:00am – The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has arranged two helicopters to shift the father-daughter duo to the prison. One of the two choppers would be stationed at Lahore airport, while the other would be in Islamabad.
The NAB had formed a 16-member team to detain Sharif and Maryam, with the anti-graft body directing additional security personnel to remain on alert on Friday (today).
12: 30am – The United Kingdom (UK) police arrested Maryam Nawaz’s son Junaid and Hussain Nawaz’s son Zikeriya in London for assaulting a protester outside the Avenfield Apartments.
The arrest comes shortly former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif left for Heathrow Airport to board a flight for Pakistan.
Sharif’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Mohammad Safdar, who was awarded one-year jail term, has already been arrested and shifted to Adiala prison.
Meanwhile, the interior government and NAB said that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz would be arrested at the airport, said the interim government on Thursday.
Earlier, in an emotional note, Maryam Nawaz tweeted that she had told her children to be brave to face the ongoing circumstances that do not seem to be favourable for Sharif family.
The caretaker information minister, Ali Zafar, said that the father-daughter duo will not be allowed to step out of the airport. “There is a court order against them,” he said. “It is our duty to arrest those who have been sentenced. We can’t let them roam around in Lahore.”
“Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz have the right to appeal,” he said. “This is a legal process. It is incorrect to say that only certain people are facing accountability.”
Meanwhile, the caretaker Punjab administration has stepped up its crackdown on PML-N’s workers.
More than 300 PML-N’s workers have reportedly been rounded up from different parts of Lahore. Arrests have also been made in Rawalpindi.