Nawaz Sharif Arrested At Lahore Airport Amid Heavy Security: 10 Points

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Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam, sentenced to jail for corruption, were arrested within minutes of landing at Lahore airport. They are expected to be flown to Rawalpindi. Over 10,000 policemen are posted in the city to check against any trouble or show of strength by supporters for the homecoming of the three-time prime minister, who wants to mobilise his party ahead of elections on July 25. The administration has ordered that mobile phones will be shut in the city from 3 pm to 12 am.

Here are the top 10 facts of this big story:

  1. The Sharifs were taken into custody by teams of the National Accountability Bureau and are being flown to Rawalpindi by helicopter.
  2. "I’ll be taken straight to jail. But I’m doing this for people of Pak, sacrificing for generations to come. Such an opportunity won’t come again. Let’s build the destiny of Pakistan together," Nawaz Sharif said at the Abu Dhabi airport.
  3. A journalist flying with him alleged that he was confined to the first class lounge at the Abu Dhabi airport and not allowed to contact his lawyer or the media the whole time.
  4. "I don’t understand… A flight that is not normally late has been delayed… Whether they arrest me now or when I reach Lahore, I am ready for any eventuality," Mr Sharif was seen saying in a series of videos accessed exclusively by NDTV.
  5. The government is seen to be taking all possible steps to prevent Nawaz Sharif from drawing political capital from his return and arrest. Around 300 members of Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, or PML-N were arrested and several were stopped from heading to the airport.
  6. The party started a march in the afternoon and plans to cover a distance of 20 km to reach Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport.
  7. Pakistan’s media regulator has ordered television channels to stop live telecast of briefings of political leaders containing "defamatory and derogatory content". The regulator claimed that "malicious and indecent content" was being aired live by television channels and sought only telecast of edited footage.
  8. Nawaz Sharif, 68, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Pakistani accountability court for corrupt practices linked to his family’s purchase of four London flats. He faces two more corruption cases against him following the Panama Paper scandal.
  9. After the former prime minister declared that he was returning from London "despite seeing a prison cell in front of him," the police started targeting leaders of his party. The election will pit the PML-N against its main political rival, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which is led by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan.
  10. His daughter Maryam Nawaz, 44, was also convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. Before leaving London, she called going back to Pakistan "to go to prison the most difficult decision of our lives because my mother is on the ventilator and we don’t know what happens next, there is no pain like that of leaving your mother behind in such situation but there’s a national duty and we must make this important journey".
  11. Source: NDTV

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