–Convicted duo expected to be flown to Islamabad as soon as their flight from London lands at Lahore airport on Friday
LAHORE: As the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) makes arrangements to giving a befitting welcome to their supreme leader, Nawaz Sharif, and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on their expected arrival at the Lahore airport on Friday, July 13, security agencies and anti-graft officials are likely to thwart the convicted ex-PM’s bid to address his supporters by bundling the duo on another aircraft to Islamabad as soon as their plane parks at the runway.
The PML-N has given a call to its workers to reach the airport to accord a historic welcome to Nawaz, who along with his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar were convicted in the Avenfield flats reference on Friday, July 6. The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) investigation team has already arrested Safdar from Rawalpindi.
Nawaz was awarded 10 years in prison, while Maryam and Safdar were sentenced to seven years and one year imprisonment, respectively, for abettment. The court also ordered takeover of their property in the Avenfield Apartments, Park Lane, London, and imposed £8 million (approx Rs1,292m) fine on Nawaz and £2 million (approx Rs323m) on Maryam.
Shehbaz Sharif has appointed his son, Hamza as the chief organiser of the ‘welcome’ procession and it is said that caravans from all parts of the country will reach Lahore airport on Friday to receive their leader.
However, sources said that the security agencies have decided not to allow Nawaz and Maryam to come out of the airport and join their supporters.
“Nawaz and Maryam will be put on another plane and sent to Islamabad as soon as their flight from London lands at the Lahore airport. This decision has been taken to avoid any law and order situation. The two have been convicted by the accountability court and it is our responsibility to implement the verdict and produce the convicts before the court,” said an informed source, adding that the caretaker government and the security agencies would ensure peace in the provincial capital at all costs.
Before their departure to London last month to see Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing cancer treatment, both Nawaz and his daughter had announced that they would soon return to the country. But they extended their stay in the UK after her health condition deteriorated and she was put on a ventilator.
Shortly after the accountability court’s verdict on Friday, the former premier said he was not afraid of going to jail and reiterated that he would soon return to Pakistan. However, he did not announce any date that kept the debate alive whether the father-daughter duo would ever return.
Talking to reporters in London on Saturday, Maryam said they would return before the expiry of 10-day time limit for filing of an appeal in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the NAB’s court verdict.
NAB had filed the reference regarding the high-end properties in London, along with two other cases, on the Supreme Court’s directives in the Panamagate verdict that deseated Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister last year.
Besides Nawaz and Maryam, his two sons Hassan and Hussain, who were also accused in the Avenfield property case, are also in London.