LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif has urged the people of the country to vote for the party in support of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif ahead of the general elections on July 25.
Speaking at a rally in Lahore on Friday evening, Shehbaz was quoted by The Express Tribune saying, "By returning Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif has proved that he is on right. Now for his return [from jail], it is your responsibility to vote for PML-N candidates on July 25."
"Now they have to show similar strength on July 25 on the polling day for the release of Nawaz Sharif," he added.
He urged the citizens of Pakistan to vote for his elder brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as he came to Pakistan for seeking a better future of the country, whilst leaving his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing treatment for cancer in London.
Taking a dig at the Pakistan caretaker government, Shehbaz further said that PML-N would stage another protest if they failed in ensuring free and fair elections in the country, as per The Express Tribune report.
The rally, which comprised a large number of PML-N party workers and supporters were supposed to reach Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport to receive Nawaz and his daughter Maryam, who was arriving from London. But they faced numerous obstacles as roads were barricaded with containers.
In the midst of this, clashes and reports of stone pelting erupted between security forces and the PML-N workers, prior to Nawaz's landing in Lahore.
Earlier, Section 144 was imposed in the entire Punjab province to prevent any untoward situation ahead of Nawaz's arrival. The Lahore administration also issued an order saying that Shehbaz would be held responsible if any unfortunate incident happened.
Furthermore, the Punjab Police and the caretaker Punjab government issued detention and house arrest orders against several senior PML-N leaders as well. Also, mobile and internet services were temporarily blocked.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) took Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz into custody in connection to the Avenfield reference case after their flight landed at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport at 8:48 p.m. (local time).
Their passports were confiscated and subsequently boarded onto a small chartered plane bound for Islamabad International Airport (IIA), the Dawn reported. The plane landed at Islamabad International Airport at around 10:35 pm (local time), following which the father-daughter duo were taken to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi in separate personnel carriers escorted by police convoys, Geo TV reported.
According to a notification issued by the Islamabad administration, the rest house at the Sihala Police Training College has been turned into a sub-jail for Sharif and Maryam with immediate effect until further orders.
Geo TV quoted sources saying that the authorities decided to keep the father-daughter duo at Adiala Jail for the time being.
Nawaz and Maryam were surrounded by a huge wave of NAB officials and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), as their flight landed at the Lahore airport. The father-daughter duo was formally arrested after the immigration.
On July 6, the father-daughter duo were convicted in absentia in the Avenfield reference case on July 6 by the Accountability Court. While Nawaz has been given 10 years of imprisonment and slapped with a fine of eight million pounds, Maryam was awarded eight years in jail and fined two million pounds.
The case pertains to the purchase of Avenfield apartments through offshore companies, the beneficial owner of which was Maryam.
The father-daughter duo was in London for a month to meet the former's ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing treatment for cancer.