Maryam says reaching Pakistan on Friday

  • Former first daughter vows to lead struggle for democracy
  • Sharifs to land at Lahore Airport via Flight EY243 at 6:15 pm
  • Warm welcome planned for Nawaz as party ticket holders, former MNAs, MPAs directed to lead groups of party workers to welcome former premier

LONDON: With the elections nearing and Captain (r) Safdar in National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody, former premier Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz has announced to land in Lahore on Friday, July 13, as the counsel for the Sharif family, Khawaja Haris, prepares to file an appeal against the accountability court verdict that sentenced Nawaz and Maryam to 10 and seven years in prison, respectively.

Speaking to media in London on Sunday, the former first daughter said that “we will lead the struggle for democracy in Pakistan”.  She announced that she will arrive in Lahore along with her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The duo will depart from London on Flight EY18 for Abu Dhabi from where they will board Flight EY243 and reach Lahore at 6:15 pm on Friday.

The former premier’s daughter vowed that they will sacrifice for the benefit of the nation. “We will sacrifice for the benefit of the nation and the generations to come,” she said.

“No matter what they do, voters cannot be stopped,” she asserted.

The PML-N leader further said, “The movement to ‘respect the vote’ has reached a decisive phase.”

In an apparent reference to former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf, Maryam said, “Some people use a backache as an excuse to flee abroad.”

“There are also some leaders who preferred fleeing Pakistan to escape punishment,” she further upheld.

Stating that the “nation is behind Mian sb”, Maryam said, “Mian sb is the first leader who is set to return to Pakistan to face his sentence.”

Maryam’s announcement came after PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif chaired a high-level meeting in Model Town to finalise a future course of action in light of Nawaz Sharif’s return to the country.

While speaking to media in London earlier on Saturday, Maryam had said she and her father would return to Pakistan on Friday — before the 10-day deadline for an appeal against the decision ends.

The father-daughter duo was sentenced on Friday to 10 and seven years in prison and slapped £8-million and £2-million fines, respectively, in relation to the Avenfield properties reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year. Moreover, Nawaz’s son-in-law, Capt (r) Safdar, received a one-year prison sentence.

NAB officials have said they have obtained the necessary warrants in this regard and will arrest the duo when they land.

Nawaz and Maryam are set to challenge the accountability court’s verdict against them in the Islamabad High Court on Monday via their counsel Khawaja Haris.

On the other hand, former Punjab chief minister (CM) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday chaired a high-level meeting to finalise a future course of action for the party in light of Nawaz’s decision to return to the country after he was sentenced by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference.

The meeting, which was held at the party’s HQ in Model Town, was attended by senior party leaders, including former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq, former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal and Shehbaz’s son, Hamza Shehbaz.

During the meeting, Shehbaz directed the PML-N’s ticket holders and former members of assemblies to lead groups of party workers to welcome Nawaz when he returns to the country.

The former Punjab CM will also formulate an alternative plan in case security personnel attempt to stop workers from welcoming Nawaz.