ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, were arrested Friday night upon their arrival in Lahore, a week after being sentenced to prison in the Avenfield Properties case.
The father-daughter duo arrived in the city from Abu Dhabi at 8:50PM after their flight was delayed for over two hours. They had left London a day earlier.
A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team took Sharif and his daughter Maryam in custody from the aircraft, while officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) confiscated their passports.
Shortly afterwards, they were boarded on a special plane that took off for Islamabad. The flight landed at the new Islamabad International Airport at around 10:35PM after which the two were taken to the Adiala Jail in separate armoured personnel carriers escorted by police convoys.
Meanwhile, a notification issued by the Islamabad administration declared the rest house at the Sihala Police Training College in the capital as a sub-jail to keep the two figures, with immediate effect and until further orders.
However, sources said authorities had decided to keep the two at Adiala Jail for now.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Law and Justice issued a notification stating that the accountability court would conduct a trial of references against Nawaz and others at the Adiala Jail.
Earlier, on Friday night, accountability court judge Justice Muhammad Bashir signed the arrest warrants for the father-daughter duo.
Last week, an accountability court in Islamabad sentenced the former three-time premier to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8-million fine (Rs1.3-billion) for “owning assets disproportionate to known sources of income”.
His daughter, Maryam, on the other hand, was sentenced to eight years with a £2-million fine (Rs335-million), while her husband, Captain (retd) Safdar, was handed a one-year prison sentence.
Sharif’s sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been absconding and declared ‘proclaimed offenders’ in the case.
‘My resolve can’t be shaken’
Speaking to the media from Abu Dhabi airport, Sharif said Pakistan had been turned into a battleground.
“There are blockades everywhere. People have been arrested and they are being given the message to not come to the airport,” the former premier had said.
“There are ten days left in the election. Is this how things happen in elections?”
He had asserted if the elections do not remain credible, the results would not be accepted.
“My resolve cannot be shaken and I am ready to be arrested,” Sharif had added.
Clashes as supporters rally to welcome Nawaz, Maryam
Earlier, a rally with a large number of PML-N supporters headed by Shehbaz Sharif, the party’s president and former chief minister of Punjab, attempted to make its way to the airport from the city’s Lohari Gate area.
But the former premier and his daughter were taken into custody from the aircraft and boarded on a flight to Islamabad shortly afterwards.
The former Punjab chief minister subsequently ended the Lahore rally late Friday, telling supporters to return to their homes. He said the people would now announce their “verdict on July 25”.
Section 144 had been imposed across Punjab to deter any untoward situation.
Containers were placed at various roads and cross sections, while roads leading to the airport were blocked to deter the PML-N rally. The Metro Bus service in the city also remained suspended.
Earlier, Shaukat Javed, Punjab’s interim home minister, addressed a press conference in Lahore and urged the PML-N workers to refrain from taking the law into their own hands.
“They [PML-N workers] have been informed that their rally is illegal,” Javed had said.
Earlier in the day, the convoy of former federal minister Khawaja Asif, which was headed to Lahore from Sialkot, was stopped near Kamoke.
Ex-prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was also stopped in Kalar Kahar. The caravan of former federal minister Khurram Dastgir, heading to Lahore from Gujranwala, was initially stopped at Sadhuki but allowed to move forth later.
A caravan making its way from Sahiwal was restricted from heading forth outside the city and several PML-N workers were taken into custody.
In Faisalabad, police made party workers, headed for Lahore, disembark from their vehicles and took them into custody.
Similar situations were observed in other cities of the province where PML-N workers and supporters were restricted from making their way to Lahore to welcome the party supremo.
A large contingent of police and Rangers had also been deployed on Grand Trunk (GT) Road.
A clash took place between the PML-N workers and police at Ravi toll plaza in Lahore. Police said three personnel, including an assistant sub-inspector and two constables, were injured in the clash.
Enraged individuals pelted stones and damaged a police vehicle as well. The situation prompted police to fire tear-gas shells to disperse the protesters.
Party workers also clashed with police at Lahore’s Jora Pull, resulting in minor injuries to a few protesters and police personnel.
The police tear-gassed the protesting workers and supporters and managed to disperse them late Friday.