Leaders of Nawaz Sharif’s party charged with terrorism, inciting violence

18 July, 2018, 13:58 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Sharif loyalists arrested as former PM returns to appeal conviction

More than 100 people were arrested in his stronghold of Lahore where he has called on crowds to meet him when he touches down from London on Friday evening.

His second term was ended by a coup in 1999, and he was imprisoned by the military regime while he faced trial for multiple charges, including corruption.

They first flew from London to Lahore, where authorities took them into custody and escorted them onto a small government plane, which took off for Islamabad, a source who was on the first plane told CNN on condition of anonymity.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed three corruption references against the Sharifs.

This week, more than 600 members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Sharif's political party, were arrested.

Police had hindered all streets to the airplane terminal to stop the PML-N activists and restricted political get-togethers.

Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, who now heads the PML-N, was leading the procession to the airport.

Meanwhile, the Punjab home department notified "Better Class" category in Adiala jail for the former prime minister and his son-in-law retired Capt Mohammad Safdar on their formal requests, while Maryam refused to apply for the better class.

Earlier last week, the accountability court judge had adjourned the hearing of Al-Azizia Steel Mills Reference against Sharif family till July 12, while Khawaja Harris, the counsel of PML-N supremo had raised objection on Muhammad Bashir over hearing of other two references. In May, Pakistan's Supreme Court determined he would be disqualified from holding public office in the future.

Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam were arrested on Friday after flying back to the country to face lengthy prison sentences, in a high-stakes gamble to galvanize their beleaguered party ahead of a July 25 election.

Some 15,000 singing and dancing supporters lined the Mall, Lahore's main thoroughfare, ahead of Sharif's return from London, an AFP reporter there said.

According to the sources, Nawaz Sharif asked Shahbaz Sharif to take a hard line against the arrest and intimidation of the party workers and leaders who wanted to accord him a welcome on his return. A team of doctors conducted the medical checkup of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz and declared them fit. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The former Prime Minister was awarded ten years in jail and his daughter was awarded eight years of imprisonment.

"Why is Lahore under siege? This situation is unacceptable given the minimum facilities he is entitled to as former Prime Minister", he wrote.

"The decision is flawed, politically motivated and has glaring loopholes", he said.

He said the major clashes took place late last night between the PML-N workers, police and rangers at the Joray Pul, some five km away from Lahore airport, where the PML-N rally was stopped.



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