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LAHORE: Three helicopters and an airplane of the Punjab chief minister have been put at the disposal of NAB to take former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam to Rawlapindi on their likely arrival at Lahore airport on Friday (today).

As many as 2,000 Rangers too have been engaged for guarding the airport, say sources in the Punjab home department on Thursday.

According to them, one helicopter is being kept at Lahore airport, one at the Islamabad airport and third in Noor Khan Air Base, Rawalpindi. The chief minister’s plane is being kept at the Lahore airport.

They said the authorities planned to arrest Mr Sharif and his daughter inside Lahore airport, and take them to Rawalpindi from there.

In case of inclement weather in Lahore, his flight could be diverted to Islamabad. And it could land at some other destination as well if weather in Islamabad was also bad, they said.

Sources said for taking out any rally in Lahore or elsewhere PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif or anybody else would have to seek prior permission of the deputy commissioner. This permission was necessary as per the Election Commission of Pakistan’s Code of Conduct for the elections. And so far none of the PML-N leader had sought any permission in Lahore.

They said that the authorities would not allow any procession to go to the airport. For that purpose there would be multiple blockades of roads everywhere in the city. They said this would be in addition to the arrest of main activists of the party. Sources said that the decision to contain Nawaz Sharif at the Lahore airport was taken at a meeting of the interior ministry two days ago.

There would be an attempt to arrest him inside the airport for two reasons, to prevent him repeat his challenging narrative and to protect him against any untoward incident.Sources said after the arrest, the NAB team would get Nawaz and his daughter medically examined. This was compulsory under the law. If needed, immediate medical treatment would be provided.

They said Maryam Nawaz would most likely to be kept in Adiala jail in a block of cells being reserved for her father and where her husband was already confined.

Like in all Punjab jails, there is a separate section for female prisoners in Adiala Jail, But sources said that it would be difficult for the jail authorities to ensure proper security measures for Maryam Nawaz there. “She may be kept close to the family members merely because of security reasons. They all will stay in separate cells,” a senior official said.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018