Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was on his way to Lahore, played ‘Aunt Sally’ ahead of his arrest on Friday and said that he was “sacrificing” himself for the people of the country.
Sharif, who was returning to Pakistan from London along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz, had been sentenced to 10 years in jail by a Pakistani court in a corruption case. He would be arrested upon his arrival at Lahore airport and transported to jail via a helicopter, according to local media reports.
"I am aware that I have been sentenced to 10 years (in prison) and I will be taken to a jail cell straight away. But I want the Pakistani nation to know that I am doing this for you. I am making this sacrifice for generations to come. I urge everyone to come and stand with me and let's change the fate of the country together," Sharif said in a video tweeted by his daughter Maryam.
Earlier in the day, Sharif and his daughter, who was also convicted in the same case and awarded seven years in jail respectively, reached Abu Dhabi from London and is scheduled to arrive at Lahore airport at 6:15 pm (local time).
Ahead of their arrival, the Pakistani authorities have put in massive security arrangements, fearing ruckus by Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) supporters. Sharif has also called upon his supporters to “walk hand in hand” with him when he returns to the country.
Taking precautionary measures, police arrested over 300 PML-N workers and leaders in a massive crackdown on the party activists in Lahore.
The anti-graft body - National Accountability Bureau (NAB) - chairman Javed Iqbal told local media that he had formed a 16-member team to arrest them and shift them to Adiala Jail Rawalpindi after producing them at the accountability court that sentenced the father-daughter duo last week.
Besides, Pakistan’s media regulator has ordered TV news channels not to live telecast the homecoming rally of Sharifs and briefing of political leaders containing "defamatory and derogatory content".
The country’s state television PTV was barred from telecasting Sharif’s political activities, saying that no convicted person should be shown or talked about on any PTV channels.
“Please note that no convicted person is to be shown or talked about on any PTV channel/programme, whether in paid advertisements, news or current affairs talk shows,” the official order issued by the PTV news controller read.