Nawaz Sharif's Mother Says She'll Go to Jail with Son & Granddaughter

14 July, 2018, 10:08 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Begum Kulsoom Nawaz- File

Sharif is due to return to Pakistan on Friday to be arrested in a move that he hopes will boost his PML-N party ahead of polls, but Khan dismissed the move as futile.

The former prime minister and his daughter were both transferred to a waiting plane and flown to Islamabad soon after they touched down having flown from London via Abu Dhabi.

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.

Sharif's son-in-law is now serving his one-year prison sentence on the same charge, which stems from the purchase of luxury apartments in Britain that the court said were bought with illegally gotten money.

Clashes broke out Friday evening at the main highway entry point to Lahore between pro-Sharif protesters and police who had been deployed in their thousands, a Reuters witness said. "That is why he is willing to lose 10 years of his life over this".

The 65-year-old opposition leader, a glamorous part of the London upper crust in his younger days, also dismissed allegations that the powerful military was working behind the scenes to favour his campaign for the July 25 poll. To prevent PML-N workers from staging a hero's welcome on the streets, authorities said they will arrest the father and daughter upon landing and transport them to the capital Islamabad by helicopter, local media reported.

Earlier, Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz who had been arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) minutes after they landed at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport.

The Avenfield corruption case is among the multiple graft cases filed against the former Premier and his children by the anti-corruption body on the Supreme Court's directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict previous year.

One of his companions at the rally, Farhan Ashfaq, a local organiser in the PML-N party, said he had been lucky to escape the round up of thousands of party activists on Thursday.

"(The) public is demanding accountability of corrupt leaders of political parties", Khan said.

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Officials from Pakistan's anti-graft body were present at the airport to take them into custody after their conviction in the Evenfield properties case linked to his family's ownership of four luxury flats in London. They both deny wrongdoing.

The Accountability Court, Pakistan's anti-corruption court, had ruled on July 6 that Nawaz Sharif owns assets beyond his income and concealed his property overseas. His brother Shehbaz became PML-N's president, but Sharif remains the power behind the throne.

Sharif alleges the military is aiding a "judicial witch-hunt" against him and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.

Since then, a host of his allies have been either disqualified by the courts or face corruption cases.

The party said more than 400 workers had been arrested in advance of Mr Sharif's return, though police put the figure closer to 100.

More than a dozen PML-N workers and two policemen were hurt when police used batons and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Strangely, Pakistan's mainstream electronic media only provided sporadic coverage of PML-N's activities during the day.

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.

The security situation has improved in recent years in nuclear-armed Pakistan, but the substantial threat still posed by militants was starkly illustrated by the attack on an election rally of a regional party in Baluchistan province, in southwestern Pakistan, that killed 128 people.

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