LAHORE – Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter will return to Pakistan on Friday to face jail and win support of the masses against his tribulation.
“We have decided to return on Friday (July 13),” Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz announced late on Saturday.
Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Safdar, are currently in London, where the three-time former PM’s wife is undergoing cancer treatment.
The father-daughter duo will take EY 18 London Heathrow-Abu Dhabi, before arriving at Lahore airport on EY 243 (Friday) at 6:15pm (PST).
They will address the crowd in the Punjab capital – which has been considered as PML-N’s stronghold – and will present themselves for arrest.
“Workers from all across the country will reach the airport to welcome their leader,” said Mushahidullah Khan, a senator with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.
A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court handed Sharif a 11-year jail term on Friday for assets it said Sharif would not have been able to afford with his income, such as luxury flats in London. Sharif’s daughter was also sentenced to jail for eight years.
NAB teams are expected to be waiting at the airport to arrest both father and daughter as soon as they land, either in Lahore or Islamabad.
“We have made arrangements for the arrest of Sharif and his daughter at Lahore and Islamabad airports to implement court orders,” NAB spokesman Bilal Punnu said on Sunday. They would be shifted to jail the same day, he added.
Maryam’s husband, Capt (r) Safdar Awan has already been detained by a two-member team of the anti-corruption watchdog from Rawalpindi.
Sharif was forced to step down as prime minister in July 2017. His latest sentencing, just weeks ahead of July 25 national elections, has reinforced concerns that the military is colluding with the judiciary to prevent his party from seeking another term.