Pakistan readies for disgraced ex-PM Sharif's return from UK

Pakistan readies for disgraced ex-PM Sharif's return from UK

Nawaz Sharif, who was convicted in absentia last week of corruption and sentenced to 11 years in jail, commenced his journey to homeland from the city's Heathrow Airport late on Thursday.

The step has been taken to ensure that Nawaz Sharif doesn't turn public opinion in his favour for the upcoming elections. He also used the opportunity to again criticize Pakistan's powerful military, which has ruled the country directly or indirectly for most of its 71-year history, saying Pakistan now has a "state above state".

While a report quoting unidentified officials said Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Sharif would be arrested in Abu Dhabi, local daily Dawn said they will be arrested on arrival in Lahore.

Maryam was sentenced to seven years of jail and fined £2 million by the Accountability Court. And it could land at some other destination as well if weather in Islamabad was also bad, they said.

This dramatic return of the former PM comes ahead of Pakistan's general elections which will pit PML-N against its main political rival, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, led by Imran Khan.

The father-daughter duo, who traveled to London just before Eid ul Fitr to be with ailing Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, are scheduled to arrive in Lahore on Friday at 6:15pm.

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As per ANI, the PML (N) president said, "We thought Bangladesh is a baggage and it slipped off our hands".

Sharif's PML-N expects a groundswell of support as he returns from London, where his wife Kulsoom is critically ill and undergoing cancer treatment.

National Accountability Bureau chairperson Javed Iqbal has formed a 16-member team to arrest the two and shift them to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi after producing them at the accountability court.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered the release of PML-N workers illegally detained by law enforcement agencies by 2pm today. Special contingents of commandos and police officials have been deployed at the airport. A second stint in power was ended by a military coup in 1999, prompting a period in jail for Sharif and years in exile in London.

"I have to enlighten the Pakistani nation that I am doing this for them". They have announced that they will address a rally in Lahore, after which they will surrender.

PML-N leaders say authorities have began a crackdown against union council leaders, the street-level party workers who bring out people on the streets.

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