Sharif loyalists arrested as former PM returns to appeal conviction

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Akhtar, in a video message, said that she would not let Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retired) Muhammad Safdar go to jail.

Hours before his imminent arrest, Mr Sharif said, "Maryam and I are coming back to face prison, and even if they send me to the gallows, we know that freedom can not be won without sacrifice".

Meanwhile in Pakistan, things don't look good for the beleaguered PML-N.

The crackdown on the PML-N, whose leaders have accused the military of attempting to destabilize the party, comes a day before the party founder, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is due to return to Pakistan where he faces arrest.

The news was confirmed by Kulsoom's son, Hussain Nawaz.

While a report quoting unidentified officials said Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Sharif would be arrested in Abu Dhabi, local daily Dawn said they will be arrested on arrival in Lahore.

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His remarks came days before the general elections in Pakistan and days after an anti-corruption court in Pakistan held Nawaz Sharif guild in the Avenfield corruption case and sentenced him 10 years in jail.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has already announced that the father-daughter duo will be arrested as soon as their aircraft lands in Lahore and will be sent to Islamabad on a helicopter.

The Sharifs are set to land in Lahore airport Friday at 6:15 pm and they will be arrested thereupon.

While addressing a gathering on Thursday, chairman PTI Imran Khan called PML-N workers, who were supposed to reach for their leader's [Nawaz Sharif] welcome, as donkeys.

"Everyone is involved in this blatant rigging from the caretaker Punjab chief minister to the caretaker interior minister and police officials", the PML-N president asserted, as he warned the officials concerned of "fair judgement" if the PML-N is voted to power again.

Lamenting that the party is not being allowed to campaign and is "being pushed against the wall", Shehbaz said, "No one complain to me later if we are not given a level playing field". He was ousted from his third term as prime minister by the Supreme Court of Pakistan past year following a corruption investigation and banned from politics for life but remains a powerful symbol for his ruling party.