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LAHORE: To save it from the kind of embarrassment it faced in the arrest episode of retired Capt Mohammad Safdar, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is weighing two options to arrest ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz upon their arrival at the Lahore airport on Friday.

In the first option, NAB may write to the caretaker government seeking a helicopter to shift Mr Sharif and Maryam to Islamabad after their arrival at the Lahore airport. The other option is to request the government to divert the flight to the federal capital to take them into custody at the (Islamabad) airport.

“Lahore NAB Director General Shahzad Saleem on Monday wrote to its chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal, requesting him to take up the arrival of the convicts — Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz — with the federal government to provide the bureau a helicopter,” an official source told Dawn.

Bureau wants govt to provide helicopter to shift convicts to Islamabad from Lahore airport or divert flight to capital

He said the NAB Lahore chief apprehended that taking both the convicts to Islamabad from the Lahore airport by road might require “elaborate security arrangements”. “Since the road option may be difficult for the authorities concerned with regard to provide security cover, a helicopter should be provided,” he said, adding that both convicts would be sent to the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi after producing them before the accountability court.

“The NAB chairman will take up the matter with the federal government,” he said.

The accountability court had on Friday handed down 10 and seven years jail to Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, respectively, in the Avenfield properties reference.

Meanwhile, NAB has also written to the Lahore police chief for provision of security to its team that will arrest Mr Sharif and his daughter on their arrival at the Lahore airport (on Friday).

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Auranzeb told Dawn that on the directive of its president Shahbaz Sharif committees had been formed in all the provinces in connection with the “historic welcome” of Mr Sharif and Maryam.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2018