Nawaz Sharif, Maryam arrested, shifted to Adiala jail

Lester Mason
July 14, 2018

The deadliest attack in Pakistan's troubled election campaign has killed at least 70 people, including a candidate, as disgraced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif returned home to face arrest.

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.Close to the airport, Sharif's supporters clashed with police which otherwise did not stop them from removing containers.

The government of Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital, banned Sharif's party the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) from holding protests and announced it will also ban mobile phones for the day.

'Why is Lahore under siege?

Former lawmaker Imran Khan, who hopes to become the next prime minister, condemned Friday's attack against his opponent, Durrani.

The country's media regulator warned local news channels to abstain from airing statements "by political leadership containing defamatory and derogatory content targeting various state institutions specifically judiciary and armed forces", the regulator said in a statement. Sharif is facing a 10-year prison sentence on corruption charges.

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.

Earlier on Friday, a suicide bomb at a political rally in Mastung killed 85 people and injured more than 100.

Maryam said the court verdict was not unexpected, while Nawaz earlier alleged a judicial witch-hunt against him and his party was being carried out by the Pakistani military while the country suffers from rising tension between the civil government and the army.

Sharif, a three-time prime minister, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $10.5m fine, while his daughter was given a seven-year sentence and $2.6m fine.

Sharif has accused Pakistan's security establishment of conspiring against him ahead of the July 25 general election. The military denied the accusations saying their assistance in carrying out the elections was requested by Pakistan's Election Commission.

Nawaz and Maryam returning is a boost for their Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party and comes after claims the military was skewing the election in favor of former cricketer Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. They have been been convicted in the Avenfield corruption case. Maryam was convicted for concealing ownership of the apartments.

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 past year.

PML-N Metropolitan president Sardar Naseem told Dawn the party had finalised its plan to lead a rally from its 6th Road elections office to Lahore, which will leave at 8a.m.

PML-N has also been shaken by internal divisions.

PML-N leaders say authorities have begun a crackdown against union council leaders, the street-level party workers who bring out people on the streets, detaining hundreds of workers over the last 36 hours.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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