LAHORE: Authorities in Pakistan have launched a massive crackdown on the PML-N activists ahead of the arrival of its supreme leader Nawaz Sharif in Lahore from London, arresting over 300 workers to stop the party's planned rally at the airport on Friday to welcome him.
Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, who were convicted by a Pakistani court in the Avenfield Apartments case and sentenced to 10 and 7 years in jail respectively, boarded a foreign flight late on Thursday and are scheduled to arrive in Lahore via Abu Dhabi at 6.15 pm (local time) on Friday.
Former Pak PM Nawaz Sharif & his daughter Maryam will be arrested by a special NAB team at Abu Dhabi Airport later this morning. They will stay at airport for 7 hrs & will reach Lahore at 6.15 pm.They would be kept at Adiala jail for 1 day,then would be transferred to Attock Fort pic.twitter.com/c8ei0slTz1
— ANI (@ANI) July 13, 2018
Over 300 PML-N activists detained
"Police have arrested more than 300 PML-N workers mostly from Lahore to stop us from welcoming our leader at the airport," Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurenzeb told PTI.
Such a massive crackdown on PML-N workers never happened even in the martial law regime, she said.
She said that despite all such tactics, the PML-N workers will reach the airport to give historic welcome to Sharif.
If he's jailed, will accompany him: Nawaz Sharif's mother
Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif`s mother Shamim Akhtar too vowed to go behind the bar if her son gets arrested. Akhtar, in a video message, said that she would not let Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retired) Muhammad Safdar go to jail.
"They are coming home and I would not let them go to jail. If they will be sent to jail, then I will also go with them," Sharif`s mother said.
All National Highways closed, over 100 commandoes deployed at Lahore Airport
All national highways and motorway will remain closed ahead of the arrival of the father-daughter duo from London.
The National Highways and Motorway Police have been directed to close all the major entry and exit routes as a preventive measure, according to Dunya News.
To keep the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supporters away from the two, containers have also been installed at various points across Lahore.
Apart from this, around 22 officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and 100 elite commandos have been deputed at Lahore`s Allama Iqbal International Airport, where the two will arrive, as per the reports.
All the arrangement to shift the convicts in Adiala jail through helicopter have been completed and even the accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir has been asked to reach there.
"Maryam and I are coming back to face prison and even if they send me to the gallows, we know that freedom cannot be won without sacrifice. It is not easy to leave my wife on a ventilator in a hospital but I am returning along with my daughter to play our role to rid of this slavery," several media reports quoted, Nawaz, as speaking at a party conference in the ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London`s Mayfair district.
Nawaz Sharif had a farewell meeting with former finance minister Ishaq Dar in London before leaving for Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif had a farewell meeting with former finance minister Ishaq Dar in London, before leaving for Abu Dhabi yesterday. Nawaz Sharif & his daughter Maryam will be arrested by a special NAB team at Abu Dhabi Airport later this morning. pic.twitter.com/4VnOG2FBiH
— ANI (@ANI) July 13, 2018
Soon after that, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) announced to give a rousing welcome to Nawaz and Maryam on their arrival in Lahore.
In order to "maintain law and order" in the city, 10,000 police officers will be deployed across Lahore on Friday, Dawn quoted Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Shahzad Akbar, as saying.
On Friday, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif is expected to lead a rally to Lahore`s Allama Iqbal International Airport to receive Nawaz and Maryam.
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.
(With Agency inputs)