Dubai: Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz will land in Lahore on Friday evening to face possible arrest ahead of the general elections on July 25.
According to a copy of the flight reservation document obtained by Gulf News, Sharif and his daughter are scheduled to depart London’s Heathrow Airport on Etihad Airways flight EY-18 at 20.25pm on July 12 and reach Abu Dhabi Airport at 7am on July 13. They will stop over in Abu Dhabi for about seven hours before departing for Lahore on flight EY-243,which will arrive at Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore at 18.15pm on Friday.
Flights fully booked
Both the flights are fully booked. At least two other persons, including Irfan Siddiqui, media advisor of Sharif and Rameeza Majid Nizami, Chief Executive Officer of the Nawa-e-Waqt Group, are booked on the same flight to accompany Sharif on what the PML-N has called his ‘historic return’.
A source in Lahore said a large number of journalists are also accompanying the Sharifs on the flight to cover the ‘big story’ as Sharif and his daughter are expected to be arrested upon arrival at Lahore airport.
Sharif’s ailing wife
Both were in London to tend to Sharif’s ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz who is on a ventilator when the National Accountability Court announced its verdict against them. Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in jail and Maryam to seven years on charges of owning flats in London. The case stemmed out of the Panama leaks scandal revealing the Sharif family’s off-shore companies , which eventually led to the ouster of Sharif from politics.
A senior leader of the PML-N told Gulf News that PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif will lead a rally to Lahore airport on Friday to receive his brother Nawaz Sharif and Maryam.
“Preparations to give an historic reception to Nawaz and Maryam are under way. Shahbaz will lead the PML-N rally on July 13,” PML-N spokesperson Mariam Aurangzeb told a news conference in Lahore on Tuesday. She said July 13 would be a reflection of the July 25 polls. “Tens of thousands of people will gather in Lahore to welcome Mian Sahib and Maryam Bibi,” she said.
Earlier, Maryam Nawaz confirmed to the media in London that her father and she would land in Lahore on July 13. She said: “People fly out of the country to evade punishment but we are returning to face it.”
“Nawaz Sharif has set a new benchmark by offering his arrest,” she said, adding that the nation would be behind her father as they planned to return.
Meanwhile, addressing Pakistani community in London on Wednesday, Sharif said he would not leave his nation alone even if he is jailed or taken to the gallows.
His daughter Maryam also accompanied him at the event.
“I am going back to my people because my country is in trouble,” he told a large gathering of his supporter. A large number of journalists also attended the event.
He reiterated: “Those who say that I have sought political asylum should know that I am coming back to my country.”
Sharif further said that he would respect ‘the vote’ even if he has to go behind the bars.
“I am going back despite the fact that Kulsoom is ailing because I owe my people who elected me prime minister thrice,” he added. “Let the voters make the decision on July 25,” he said.
Sharif claimed that there was no evidence of corruption against him. “We are being victimized for restoring supremacy of democracy and common people,” he said. He said that he would land in Lahore on Friday along with his daughter and is ready to face any consequences.