Nawaz Sharif to face further graft hearings from jail

Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir

Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir

The former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were taken to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi yesterday after returning back to Pakistan.

On arriving at Lahore's Allama Iqbal Airport from London, Maryam and her father, who are convicted in corruption case, were arrested on Friday. But will it reverse the course of the political party?

In a video released Friday morning by the Pakistan Muslim League Noon (PMLN) party, Sharif could be seen addressing his supporters from inside an airplane, stating that he was returning to Pakistan as a "sacrifice for the future generations of the country and for its political stability". Four supporters were killed near the election rally of a senior politician from an Islamist party who is running for parliament from the northwestern town of Bannu. When I reached London with my father, she was unconscious and the day we left London for Pakistan, she opened up her eyes for a few seconds, saw us but we could not talk. The bombing was the biggest attack in Pakistan in more than a year and the third incident of election-related violence this week.

Sharif's child in-law Mohammad Safdar was additionally granted a one-year sentence.

Police have made arrangements to whisk them away by helicopter to Adiala Prison in Rawalpindi on their arrival.

"Why is Lahore under siege?" The former Prime Minister was awarded ten years in jail and his daughter was awarded eight years of imprisonment.

Sharif, along with Maryam, was arrested as they returned to Lahore city to serve a 10-year and seven-year jail term, respectively, on corruption charges, the NAB officials said in a press conference.

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Media reports from Pakistan claim that the two-hour-20-minute flight delay helped in mobilizing the PML-N cadre waiting at the airport, as visuals of hundreds of them on the road appeared on Pak TV channels.

Ahead of his return, police swept through Lahore, arresting scores of Sharif's PML-N workers to prevent them from greeting him at the airport.

The Sharifs, who have had a rocky relationship with Pakistan's powerful military, have cast the sentences as part of a conspiracy to stifle their power before the nationwide general elections in less than two weeks. It plans to place 371,000 soldiers around polling stations so there can a "free and fair" elections, an army spokesperson said this week.

Maryam's mother Kulsoom Nawaz is on a ventilator after suffering a cardiac arrest in London where she is undergoing treatment for throat cancer. They include former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who replaced Sharif a year ago and served until June, when the caretaker government took over.

Sharif was ordered jailed in a case stemming from 2016 Panama Papers revelations that showed they owned the apartments through off-shore companies.

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

Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only. If Imran Khan's party, the PTI, is elected to power, it would be a victory for the military over the civilian leadership.

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