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Nawaz Sharif, Maryam likely to be arrested mid-air

Nawaz Sharif, Maryam likely to be arrested mid-air”

The cricketer-turned-politician campaigned for an investigation into Sharif's finances after the 2016 Panama Papers leak linked his family to offshore companies.

As the political drama unfolded, fears of violence also surged ahead of the polls after a suicide bomber targeting a political rally in southwestern Balochistan province killed candidate Siraj Raisani and 127 other people in one of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan's history.

Addressing a rally, he said: "How will the Muslim Leaguers go to the airport to receive Nawaz Sharif?".

Pakistani and worldwide rights groups have accused the military of seeking to maintain its influence in Pakistani politics by keeping Sharif out of power.

More than 20 years after Khan founded his political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice), the man still revered by many as captain of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup-winning cricket team, feels the stars have finally aligned for him.

On Thursday, Sharif's brother Shahbaz, who is leading the PML-N's election campaign, said hundreds of the party's workers and supporters had been arrested in what he described as "naked" pre-poll rigging.

Nawaz Sharif decried the tactics ordered by the caretaker government that took over in June ahead of the general election, as Pakistan's constitution requires.

'What credibility will these elections have when the government is taking such a drastic action against our people and this crackdown is taking place all over the country?' he said in Abu Dhabi en route to Lahore. 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.

'Why is Lahore under siege?

Nawaz Sharif and Maryam were arrested by Pakistan's anti-graft body, the National Accountability Bureau, upon their arrival in Lahore from Dubai last night and flown to Islamabad and had been lodged at the Adiala Jail in Ralwapindi.

Turning his lash at Nawaz's arrest, he warned that it is not good news for Shehbaz Sharif, adding that the PML-N president will be next after July 25 as he will also accompany Nawaz in the Adiala prison. "Right to peaceful protest is fundamental for democracy", tweeted Bhutto Zardari, the son of two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated at a political rally in 2007.

Sharif's return from London, where his wife Kulsoom is critically ill and undergoing cancer treatment, comes at a time of dwindling fortunes for his party, which a year ago was considered a run-away favourite to retain power. Maryam was convicted for concealing ownership of the apartments.

Internet and mobile services have been cut off in most parts of Lahore and will be suspended until midnight. Initially, they were to appear in front of Judge Mohammad Bashir for their official sentence to begin, but citing security threats, the court approved NAB's exemption plea and ordered both of them to be taken to prison directly.

Sharif alleges the military is aiding a "judicial witch-hunt" against him and his PML-N party.

Recent polling showed the PTI's popularity steadily rising and closing the gap with the PML-N.

She condemned police for using force to stop PML-N workers.



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