Nawaz Sharif heads to Pakistan to face jail sentence before elections

Former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz

Former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz

"Goodbyes are hard, even for the grownups", Maryam had tweeted with a picture of her children.

A special helicopter is on standby at New Islamabad Airport.

Authorities have mobilised more than 10,000 police officers ahead of their arrival and plan to block roads with shipping containers to shut down the city of Lahore.

"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".

A spokesman for Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party confirmed they were arrested soon afterwards. "The country is at a critical juncture right now", said Nawaz Sharif.

Last week, Sharif was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped with a £8-million fine (Rs1.3-billion) in the Avenfield properties reference case, while Maryam, his daughter, was sentenced to eight years with a £2-million (Rs335-million) fine.

The verdict came at a time when Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif were in London to see Begum Kulsum Nawaz Sharif who has been undergoing treatment for cancer. He was shifted to Adiala Jail by the NAB after he was presented in an accountability court in Islamabad on Monday.

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According to ANI, Nawaz Sharif, in a video statement, earlier in the day, said, "I did whatever was there in my hand".

On Friday, some of Sharif's supporters clashed with police in Lahore.

"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.

Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gestures as he boards a Lahore-bound flight due for departure, at Abu Dhabi International Airport, UAE July 13, 2018.

PML-N leaders claimed that around 300 workers were arrested from Rawalpindi on Tuesday, while several hundred others had been picked up from Lahore and other cities. "The Election Commission of Pakistan must act and order release of our detained workers".

The defiant leader questioned the credibility of the July 25 polls amid a crackdown on his supporters.

Addressing a press conference in London with Maryam by his side, Sharif had said he has made a decision to return to the country "despite seeing the bars of prison in front of my eyes".

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