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Nawaz Sharif's flight lands in Lahore; arrested from airport

14 July 2018
Nawaz Sharif's flight lands in Lahore; arrested from airport

Sharif, who was in London with his wife and children when the verdict was announced, said he is returning to Pakistan from London to fulfil his pledge to "honour the vote". The same helicopter that Sharif used as the prime minister of Pakistan will be used to transport him to the jail, they added.

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. Nawaz and Maryam will then be directly transported to the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi. "I am giving this sacrifice for your future, so give me your full support and go with me with your hands in my hands".

On July 6, Nawaz was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of eight million pounds was slapped on him in the Avenfield reference case, while Maryam was sentenced to seven years of jail and fined two million pounds by the accountability court. Maryam was convicted for concealing ownership of the apartments.

Sharif, 68, has cast himself as a defender of democracy, a far cry from the start of his political life when he was the protege of military dictator General Zia ul-Haq and had his career nurtured by the generals in the 1980s.

The opposition Pakistan People Party (PPP) has also alleged "pre-poll rigging" this week, but did not specifically name the armed forces. In one picture retweeted by Maryam, the father and daughter are seen bidding a teary farewell to Kulsoom Nawaz.

The military, which has ruled the nuclear-armed country for nearly half its history and ended Sharif's second stint in power in 1999 in a bloodless coup, denies involvement.

Pakistan's media regulator has ordered television channels to stop live telecast of briefings of political leaders containing "defamatory and derogatory content" ahead for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's return to the country on Friday, NDTV reported. It plans to place 371,000 soldiers around polling stations so there can a "free and fair" elections, an army spokesman said this week.

After the Supreme Court ousted Sharif as prime minister last July, the courts barred him from heading the party he founded.

After boarding the flight Friday, Sharif posted a video on social media urging supporters to show up in droves for the July 25 election, and thereby resist what he has called a conspiracy to oust his ruling party from power.

Khan has also denied colluding with the military.

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