Monday, 19 November, 2018

Why Maryam Nawaz Sharif's arrest today has become a headache for Pakistan

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Kenny Thornton | 13 July, 2018, 10:56

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam, sentenced to jail for corruption, are likely to be arrested mid-air, even before they land in Lahore on Friday evening, reports suggested.

Thousands of supporters are expected to congregate at the Lahore airport for the dramatic home-coming for Nawaz Sharif, a three-time prime minister who wants to campaign for his party ahead of the July 25 general elections.

The duo, who are convicted in Avenfield reference case, will stay at the Abu Dhabi airport for seven hours and will reach Lahore at 6.15pm (2.15 United Kingdom time), sources said.

No official reason was given but the party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), says it is an attempt to stifle its ability to launch street protests.

"I am leaving behind my ailing wife to come back for the sake of the country", said Nawaz, adding that Kulsoom had briefly opened her eyes but "she did not recognize me".

In a press release issued on Thursday, the bureau stated that "chairman NAB retired Justice Javed Iqbal has said that the accountability court's verdict in the Avenfield properties reference and the arrest warrants issued against Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz will be executed in accordance with law".

Sharif had stepped down as prime minister in July after the apex court's ruling.

In reply to another question about placing the names of Mr Sharif and Ms Maryam on the ECL, he said the decision could only be taken when they arrived in Pakistan.

Donald Trump touches down in the United Kingdom after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation controversy
He added it seemed as if the United Kingdom was "getting at least partially involved back with the European Union". The US president and the first lady were given a red carpet reception at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, things don't look good for the beleaguered PML-N.

Nawaz Sharif, 68, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Pakistan accountability court for corrupt practices linked to his family's purchase of London flats.

"The country is at a critical juncture right now", said Nawaz Sharif.

"Despite seeing the bars of prison in front of my eyes, I am going to Pakistan", Sharif told Pakistani journalists this week in London, where he vowed to re-assert "civilian supremacy".

Police and city administration have blocked all roads leading to the Lahore airport by placing containers to bar PML-N workers and leaders to reach from welcoming the duo. Many PML-N lawmakers have also defected to Khan's party.

PML-Q senior central leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said Nawaz, who attacked the Supreme Court of Pakistan, is still doing politics of chaos even today.

"Those who think they can scare us.open your ears and hear this: we are winning this election", Shehbaz Sharif told reporters in Lahore on Thursday.

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