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Sharif’s prison term ‘may aid his party in elections’


POLL BOOST: Nawaz Sharif boards a Lahore-bound flight at Abu Dhabi International Airport last Friday (13); and (below) his
party supporters chant and march towards the airport to welcome him and his daughter Maryam on his arrival in Pakistan
POLL BOOST: Nawaz Sharif boards a Lahore-bound flight at Abu Dhabi International Airport last Friday (13); and (below) his party supporters chant and march towards the airport to welcome him and his daughter Maryam on his arrival in Pakistan

FORMER PRIME MINISTER AND DAUGHTER JAILED AFTER RETURNING TO PAKISTAN FORMER Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif was arrested on his re­turn to the country last Friday (13), where he faces 10 years in prison for corruption, ahead of already tense elections that his party claims are be­ing rigged. Sharif and his daughter Maryam were “ arrested” by corruption authori­ties “with immediate effect and till further orders”, according to a state­ment from the Islamabad city adminis­tration. They landed in Lahore and were then taken to the capital, the statement said. An anti-corruption official confirmed the arrests on condition of anonymity. Sharif, who claims that he is being targeted by the country’s powerful se­curity establishment, is fighting for his political life as his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party limps into the final weeks of campaigning ahead of nationwide polls next Wednesday (25). Some 15,000 singing and dancing supporters lined the Mall, Lahore’s main thoroughfare, ahead of Sharif’s return from London, media there said. Lahore is the capital of Punjab prov­ince, Pakistan’s most populous and a PML-N stronghold. A smaller contingent of around two dozen supporters waited on the road to Adiala prison in Rawalpindi, the garrison city neighbouring Islamabad, where Sharif was expected to be taken before going to a guest house on the outskirts of the capital which authori­ties said had been declared a “sub-jail”. Roughly 100 police officers had blocked the road to the jail with freight containers, a reporter said. Analysts said Sharif’s return – a week after he was sentenced in absen­tia to 10 years in prison by a corruption court over the purchase of high-end properties in London – could help lift his party’s fortunes ahead of the vote. “I know that… I will be directly taken to jail,” Sharif, who was ousted for cor­ruption by the…

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