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ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz will be arrested on their arrival at Lahore airport from where they will be taken to Islamabad by helicopter so that they can be sent to Adiala jail for imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the National Accountability Bureau has written a letter to the interior ministry, asking it to send a request to Interpol for the arrest of Mr Sharif’s sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz and former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who are also facing NAB references and presently staying in London.

The decision to arrest Mr Sharif and Ms Maryam at Allama Iqbal International Airport on their arrival from London on Friday was taken at a meeting chaired by Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar and attended by the chief secretary of Punjab, inspector general of Punjab police, NAB’s director general Lahore, director general of the Federal Investigation Agency and Islamabad’s chief commissioner.

“The provincial government of Punjab and NAB will act according to the law,” the interior secretary told Dawn, indicating that the deposed prime minister and his daughter would be taken into custody on their arrival at Lahore airport.

Will be taken to Islamabad through chopper; NAB asks interior ministry to request Interpol for arrest of ex-prime minister’s sons, Ishaq Dar

However, the secretary did not confirm that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders would be taken to Islamabad in a chopper. “It is yet to be decided how they will be taken to the capital,” he said.

In reply to a question about media reports that the names of Mr Sharif and Ms Maryam had been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL), the secretary said it was only a speculation as no such action had been taken so far.

“The names of accused are placed on the ECL by a special committee of the cabinet and it has not met so far for putting the Sharifs’ names on the list,” he said.

When contacted, a senior official of NAB, who did not want to be named, said Mr Sharif and Ms Maryam would be arrested from Lahore by bureau officials and they would be brought to Islamabad to shift them to the Adiala jail.

Answering to a question, he said there was no need to produce them before the Accountability Court of Islamabad as the court had already convicted them in the Avenfield properties case.

A source said it was decided during the meeting that Mr Sharif and Ms Maryam would be taken to Islamabad through a helicopter soon after their arrest.

It has also been learnt that the Punjab government had imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code — a law which prohibits assembly of more than four persons to maintain public order — throughout the province. The law has already been enforced in Islamabad.

The meeting also reviewed security measures to be taken in the capital when Mr Sharif and Ms Maryam will be brought there to send them to the Adiala jail, where the former’s son-in-law retd Capt Safdar has already been imprisoned.

The meeting considered deployment of Rangers to maintain law and order in the federal capital.

Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz are currently in London and scheduled to return to Pakistan on Friday, a week after the accountability court sentenced them to 10 and seven years imprisonment, respectively, in the Avenfield properties case. Mr Sharif and Ms Maryam have also been fined eight million pounds sterling and two million pounds, respectively.

Recently, the former prime minister said in a media talk that he and his daughter would land in Lahore and decide their future strategy after their arrival in the country.

Although Mr Sharif’s political party — the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz — has come under severe criticism and pressure after he was declared guilty in the Avenfield reference, political analysts believe that once Mr Sharif returns to the country, his presence will definitely cast impact on the general elections scheduled for July 25.

NAB had on Sunday arrested retired Capt Safdar in Rawalpindi and sent him to the jail as he had also been sentenced by the accountability court to one-year imprisonment in the Avenfield properties reference.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2018

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