Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam were arrested on Friday after they returned to the country from London, a week after being convicted in the Avenfield Reference case, one of the three corruption cases against the ousted premier following the Panama Papers scandal. Their respective passports have also been confiscated, according to The Dawn.
Sharif and Maryam were taken into custody after their flight from Abu Dhabi landed at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal airport following a three-hour delay. From Lahore, the Sharifs will be taken to Islamabad by helicopter so that they can be sent to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.
— ANI (@ANI) July 13, 2018
Earlier, it was reported that the Etihad Airways flight would be diverted to Islamabad after workers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz clashed with police in Lahore. During the course of the day, police arrested scores of Sharif’s supporters and party PML-N workers to prevent them from greeting the ousted leader at the airport. Around 10,000 police officers were deployed across the city to maintain law and order, while the Punjab government suspended mobile and internet services.
On July 6, an accountability court convicted Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain Muhammad Safdar (retired) in the Avenfield case. While Sharif was handed a 10-year jail term for the purchase of four luxury apartments in London with unaccounted money, Maryam was given seven years for aiding and abetting her father in covering up the “conspiracy”. Safdar, who has been given one-year rigorous imprisonment for not cooperating with the NAB, was arrested last Sunday after he showed up at a party rally in Rawalpindi.
Earlier in the day, Sharif, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court last year in the Panama Papers case, urged his followers to stand with him and “change the fate of the country” in a video message. “I have done what I could. I am aware that I have been sentenced to 10 years (in prison) and I will be taken to a jail cell straight away. But I want the Pakistani nationals to know that I am doing this for you,” he said.
Calling the case a “game of blind revenge”, Sharif told The Nation newspaper, “This was neither a case, nor there is a verdict. The whole Panama case was started to fix politics and to keep me out because I wanted a stronger democracy.” Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court last year in the Panama Papers case.