Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday claimed he was surrendering for the future of Pakistan. Over 300 workers and leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) have been detained in Lahore in a massive crackdown ahead of the arrival of Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz from London, reported Dawn on Thursday.
Maryam Nawaz tweeted a video message from her father after they stopped in Abu Dhabi before they travel on to Lahore. “I want the Pakistani nation to know that I am doing this for you,” the former prime minister said.
Party spokesperson Marriyum Aurenzeb told PTI that police arrested the workers, mostly from Lahore, to stop them from welcoming Sharif at the airport.
While a report quoting unidentified officials said Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz would be arrested in Abu Dhabi, local daily Dawn said they will be arrested on arrival in Lahore. They will then be taken to Islamabad by helicopter and ferried to Adiala jail.
Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were sentenced to prison in a corruption case on July 6 along with Maryam Nawaz’s husband Captain Safdar. The former prime minister and his daughter were in London, where Sharif’s wife Begum Kulsoom is undergoing treatment for cancer.
National Accountability Bureau Chairperson Javed Iqbal has formed a 16-member team to arrest the two after producing them at the accountability court. Deputy Inspector General Operations Shahzad Akbar said 10,000 police officers will be deployed across Lahore on Friday to “maintain law and order”.
Meanwhile, the party president accused the caretaker government of vote rigging. “The Election Commission of Pakistan must act and order release of our detained workers,” said Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shahbaz Sharif.
Pakistan’s media regulator has ordered television channels to stop live telecast of briefings of political leaders containing “defamatory and derogatory content”, NDTV reported. The order is seen as an effort to ensure that Sharif wasn’t able to turn public opinion in his favour ahead of the general elections on July 25.
The corruption cases
The National Accountability Bureau had filed three cases related to the purchase of four flats in London’s Avenfield House against Sharif and his children. The bureau registered the case on the basis of the Supreme Court’s orders in its July 28 Panama gate verdict, which removed Sharif from the post of prime minister.
The agency had also named Sharif’s sons – Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz – as accused in the three cases. Sharif’s family insisted that they had purchased the apartments with “legitimate” financial resources but were unable to disclose those resources before either the accountability court or the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the London Police on Friday took Nawaz Sharif’s grandsons Junaid Safdar and Zakaria Sharif into custody for beating a man outside their residence, Avenfield House, DawnNewsTV reported.