Former Prime Minister Sharif Arrested Moments After Landing in Pakistan

The protesters chanted slogans against ex-PM calling him as thief and also blocked the main road

"It was not understandable as to why the PML-N workers were pressing ahead to get to the airport despite the fact that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were arrested at the airport and flown to Islamabad on a jet", he said."Some 25 PML-N workers and policemen have been injured in this clash".

But news of the PML-N convoy, first assembling at Lahore's historic Lohari Gate, and its march towards the airport, was limited at best till late evening.

Earlier on Thursday, an enraged mob had continued protest against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif outside Avenfiled flats in London.

Two of Pakistan's most popular political figures, Sharif and his daughter Maryam - his political heir - were arrested by anti-corruption police at the airport in the eastern city of Lahore moments after they arrived from London, where Sharif's wife is in a hospital receiving treatment for lymphoma. His daughter and likely political successor, Maryam, was given seven years.

Pakistan's third major political movement, the Pakistan Peoples Party, joined the criticism of the crackdown, with its prime ministerial candidate Bilawal Bhutto Zardari questioning why Sharif's supporters would be arrested and prevented from gathering. "That is why he is willing to lose 10 years of his life over this".

The Sharifs had been visiting the United Kingdom capital of London, where Nawaz's wife Kulsoom is undergoing treatment for cancer, and had been unresponsive for several weeks, according to Maryam Nawaz.

To prevent PML-N workers staging a hero's welcome on the streets, authorities had said they would arrest the father and daughter upon landing and fly them to the capital Islamabad, local media reported. Support for PML-N and Sharif has dwindled since Sharif was ousted as PM last July.

In a landmark verdict, the Sharifs were convicted by an anti-corruption court for not being able to prove a legitimate source for funds used to buy a set of upscale London apartments.

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Khan's party has pulled ahead of others in one opinion poll and he said of his chances in the election: "I'm quietly confident that this time we'll do it".

Khan has painted Sharif as a "criminal" who has looted the state for decades, and welcomes his prison term as overdue accountability. The case against them, involving London properties owned by the Sharif family, also resulted in fines of eight million pounds for Nawaz and two million pounds for Maryam. They both deny wrongdoing. His brother Shehbaz became PML-N's president, but Sharif remains the power behind the throne. The plane carrying Sharif, the supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz, and Maryam landed at Lahore's Allama Iqbal Airport at 9:15 IST, almost three hours late from the scheduled arrival.

Since then, a host of his allies have been either disqualified by the courts or face corruption cases.

The kind of reception Sharif receives on the streets of Lahore will be viewed carefully in Pakistan, where political popularity is often measured by the size of rallies that politicians can attract. Among them was Siraj Raisani, leader of the Balochistan Awami Party, who...

Strangely, Pakistan's mainstream electronic media only provided sporadic coverage of PML-N's activities during the day.

Nawaz Sharif has called for a "mass gathering of the people". "Will they tell their children that they went to welcome the thief who had looted billions of rupees from the country?"

Hours beforehand another bomb killed at least four people at a campaign in Bannu, near the Afghan border.

The MMA is expected to challenge Khan's PTI in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the upcoming polls.

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