Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were held up in Abu Dhabi on their way to Lahore from London after their flight, Etihad Airways flight EY243, delayed for an unspecified time on Friday, according to local media reports.
Earlier, the father-daughter duo was scheduled to arrive at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport at around 6.15 pm (local time).
The authorities of Etihad Airways stated that the reason for their hold up was the delay in a flight coming from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi. According to authorities, the flight was supposed to take the EY243’s passengers from Abu Dhabi to Lahore.
“The flight is expected to take off at 4.40pm (PST),” leading Pakistani daily the Dawn News quoted airport officials as saying.
However, the boarding had still not begun by 4.25 pm (PST). Even if the flight takes off at the scheduled time, it will reach Lahore at around 8 pm in the night.
Earlier last week, a Pakistani court sentenced Sharif and his daughter Maryam to 10 years and seven years in jail, respectively. They were likely to be arrested upon their arrival at the Lahore airport, from where they expected to be transported to Adiala Jail via helicopter.
Nawaz, while waiting in Abu Dhabi raised questions over the delay in a flight "that is never late". He urged people of Pakistan to "think about who delayed this flight and why", according to the Pakistani daily.
The former Pakistani PM, however, said that he was aware of the arrest and was not afraid to go to jail. He also questioned the credibility of the general elections in country scheduled to be held on July 25.
"I am not afraid of being arrested. If I was, why would I be coming back? It does not matter if NAB or the people who have sent NAB personnel arrest me from here [Abu Dhabi] or from Lahore. I am ready for it.
"What is happening in this country today, what is happening in Lahore, raises questions regarding the elections. Hundreds of our party workers have been arrested; people are being pressured into switching loyalties. All of this forms a question mark on the credibility of the election,” he added.