ISLAMABAD: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz have been arrested and kept in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi after their post-arrest arrival in Islamabad from at Lahore airport Friday. It is believed that Maryam will later be shifted to Sihala Rest House after medical check-up of the duo is completed at Adiala Jail.
The two were flown to Islamabad in a special plane to serve sentence announced by the accountability court in Avenfield reference last week.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team arrested the duo amid stiff resistance at the airport. The roads leading to the airport were blocked as scuffles broke out between police and PML-N workers.
According to a notification issued by the chief commissioner of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), the police rest house was declared sub-jail for keeping the convicts till further notice. The security will be provided by Islamabad police.
Media reports earlier suggested that the authorities had decided to divert the plane to Islamabad airport, concerning security threats.
Authorities took measures to contain PML-N’s welcoming rally moving towards Lahore airport.
Nawaz was sentenced in absentia last week to 10 years in prison by a corruption court over the purchase of high-end properties in London, dealing a serious blow to his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party’s bid weeks ahead of the July 25 polls.
Talking to reporters from Abu Dhabi over the phone, the former PM said Pakistan had been turned into a battlefield.
He alleged that some forces were forcing the caretaker government to take harsh decisions in Punjab ahead of elections.
Nawaz urged Punjab caretaker chief minister Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi to resign or step down because “people of Punjab had lost faith in him”. The deposed PM questioned why such measures were being taken in Punjab alone.
To a question, he questioned the alleged curb on freedom of speech and asked the media to stand up against it.
NAB deputy prosecutor general Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said the accountability court has issued warrants of imprisonment for the convicts.
He said the court has also appointed Islamabad’s magistrate Waseem Ahmed as court representative for execution of the warrants of imprisonment on behalf of the court.
Meanwhile, the district administration has declared the premises of Sihala police training rest house as sub-jail for keeping the convicts. The security will be provided by Islamabad police.
The duo was produced before the accountability court before being shifted to Adiala jail. Judge Muhammad Bashir and NAB’s prosecution team had earlier reached the court.
Scuffle witnessed at airport as workers attempted to resist the arrests. Maryam Nawaz restrained from walking towards the terminal. The duo taken into custody unharmed.
A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team supported by Airport Security Force (ASF) officials arrested former premier Mian Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif in compliance with a July 6 court order in the Avenfield case, minutes after they landed in Lahore.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team, awaiting the father-daughter duo at Allama Iqbal International Airport, arrested them after immigration process.
Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz arrived in Pakistan via Etihad Airways flight EY243. The plane landed at Allama Iqbal International Airport at 8:45pm.
They flew from London on July 12 at 8:45pm. Their flight made a stop in UAE, where the father-daughter duo spent seven hours before flying to Lahore.
Upon their arrival, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team confiscated their passports.
Nawaz Sharif has been arrested by the FIA and NAB officials from the plane. Maryam Nawaz was also taken into custody by the female officers.
Sources said Nawaz Sharif and Maryam are fully cooperating with the 16-member NAB team.
They have been shifted to special aircraft to transfer them to Islamabad.
The flight was delayed because other passengers on the flight asked the airline to delay it so they could make other arrangements. The other passengers wanted to make sure they would arrive at their destination and expressed concerns that the flight would be diverted to Islamabad.
Mobile phone service was suspended in different parts of Lahore such as Shahdara and Nawab Town. The service remained suspended from 3pm to 11pm. The police was equipped with tear gas and anti-riot gear. The provincial administration announced that no political parties will be allowed to hold a rally in Lahore on Friday.
Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were convicted in Avenfield reference last Friday by the accountability court. The Sharifs were in London to look after ailing Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, when they were awarded imprisonment in the corruption case.
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 had gone to London on June 15 to spend Eid with Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who has been battling throat cancer for the last few months. On June 14, Begum Kulsoom suffered a cardiac arrest and has been on life support since then. On July 12, she opened her eyes after a month-long coma. “[This is the] first time in 30 days that ami opened eyes for a few seconds. Don’t know if she saw or registered us. Still not conscious and on the ventilator. Prayers solicited,” Maryam said on Twitter.
After the verdict in the Avenfield case, Nawaz and his daughter announced that they are returning to Pakistan on Friday. According to NAB law, an accused can file an appeal against the court’s verdict within 10 days of the judgment being made public.
The PML-N supremo further said he would render the sacrifice for the future generations of the country. “I am sacrificing for the future generations of Pakistan.” Asking the people for their support, he said the destiny of the country can change if the masses stay by his side as such opportunities do not come often.
Nawaz and Maryam left London late Thursday night to embark on their journey back to Pakistan. Photographs shared by the PML-N on Twitter showed the father-daughter duo meeting family, friends and party leaders for their goodbyes. The two are expected to reach Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport by 6:30 pm Friday evening.
Maryam also tweeted on Thursday that her mother Begum Kulsoom Nawaz had opened her eyes for a few seconds for the first time in weeks, she also requested her followers to pray for her mother’s well-being.
“First time in 30 days, Ami opened eyes for a few seconds. Don’t know if she saw or registered us. [Begum Nawaz] is still not conscious and on ventilator. Prayers solicited.”
Before departing for Pakistan, Maryam tweeted that her children remained defiant against all odds, and wished them farewell. “Told my kids to be brave in the face of oppression. But kids will still be kids. Goodbyes are hard, even for the grownups,” she wrote.
On Thursday, former chief minister Punjab and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said that hundreds of their workers and supporters had been arrested ahead of Nawaz’s expected return in what he said was “naked” pre-poll rigging against their party.
The younger Sharif brother has pledged to marshal a welcome for the former prime minister, saying thousands of supporters would travel to Lahore airport to back Nawaz. “We’ll go to the airport tomorrow despite this brutality, and we will remain completely peaceful.”
Containers could be seen blocking some Lahore roads on Friday morning, while travel to and from the airport had reportedly been restricted.