Nawaz Sharif, Maryam arrested at Lahore airport

Nawaz Sharif, Maryam arrested at Lahore airport

Earlier, during the delay in Abu Dhabi, Maryam tweeted a picture of them from the airport lounge. According to sources, the NAB team will board the plane with the permission of authorities and will take Nawaz and Maryam under their custody.

Sharif reportedly refused to sit in the vehicle of the Rangers to get to the airport terminal.

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. On Wednesday, Sharif told reporters in London that the military's main spy agency has intimidated the PML-N's election candidates and has told them to switch parties or run as independents.

Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz arrived in London prior to Eid-ul-Fitr and are now there due to Kulsoom Nawaz's prolonged illness.

Internet and mobile services have been cut off in most parts of Lahore and will be suspended until midnight.

Local police official Naveed Shah told Reuters his current orders did not include restricting people's movements, but that could change when supporters of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party take to the streets.

A source in Pakistan's caretaker government told Al Arabiya English that there are intelligence reports suggesting Nawaz Sharif's arrest soon after he returns, may create a situation in Lahore, provincial capital of Pakistan's populous Punjab province which is considered stronghold of Sharif's PML-N.

The rally kicked off at the Lohari Gate in the afternoon and could manage to proceed a few kilometers as party workers struggled to remove cargo containers on their way. They were headed for the Lahore airport.

Officials have said a helicopter each had been positioned at airports in Islamabad and Lahore airports for the arrest.

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The younger Sharif has called upon Mr. Askari for the immediate release of the detained workers.

The defiant leader questioned the credibility of the July 25 polls amid a crackdown on his supporters.

Imran Khan asked his party workers to show patience ahead of Nawaz Sharif's return to the country.

"I have done what I could. But I want the Pakistani nation to know that I am doing this for you".

After the Supreme Court ousted Sharif last July, the courts barred him from heading the PML-N party he founded.

Sharif's return comes at a time of dwindling fortunes for his party, which one year ago was considered a run-away favourite to retain power. He and his party have accused the military of being behind his conviction, saying it is going after the PML (N) for its criticism of the security establishment.

The armed forces, which have directly ruled Pakistan for nearly half of its existence, have repeatedly denied interfering in the election.

Sharif's arrival was set for a day marked by a spike in violence, with two attacks on two campaign rallies in separate parts of the country killing almost 40 people and raising fears for security days ahead of the July 25 polls.

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