Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam are expected to land at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport at 6.15 PM on Friday via Abu Dhabi on Etihad Airways flight.
Maryam posed pictures on Twitter of the scenes in London before their departure. In one picture, the father and daughter can be seen bidding a teary farewell to Kulsoom Nawaz, who is admitted at a London hospital.
Former Pakistan Prime Minister and his daughter Maryam will be arrested on their arrival at Lahore airport. From there they will be taken to Islamabad by helicopter so that they can be sent to Adiala jail for imprisonment.
The two PML-N leaders are returning to Pakistan to face sentence handed out on July 6 by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference case, in which the judge ruled that Nawaz, Maryam and her husband Captain Safdar own assets beyond known income. They were respectively handed jail sentences of 10, seven and one year each.
Nawaz’s daughter Maryam was given 7 years for abetment after she was found "instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father" and 1 year for non-cooperation with the bureau. These sentences will also run concurrently, according to a report in DAWN
According to the judgement, she "aided, assisted, abetted, attempted and acted in conspiracy with her father". "The trust deeds produced by the accused Maryam Nawaz were also found bogus," read the judgement.
Authorities in Pakistan, however, are in a fix on how to stop hundreds of thousands of supporters who are gearing up to welcome back Sharif and his daughter on Friday on what analysts have called a “historic” day in Pakistani politics: never before has a political leader flown back to Pakistan to face jail after being convicted by a court.
“I ask the people, especially women, to come out of their homes like tigers, and cross all barricades to reach the Lahore airport. No one can stop a mass gathering of the people,” he said. “It is not easy to leave my wife on a ventilator in a hospital but I am returning along with my daughter for our nation. I am coming back even if they send me to the gallows,” Nawaz Sharif said.
PML-N officials in Lahore said on Wednesday that police had detained hundreds of members of the party in an attempt to stifle its ability to launch street protests.
Nawaz, who was in London with his wife and children when the verdict was announced, said he is returning to Pakistan from London to fulfil his pledge to honour the vote.
Addressing a party conference in London with Maryam by his side, Sharif said he has decided to return to the country despite seeing the bars of prison in front of my eyes.
“I ask the people, especially women, to come out of their homes like tigers, and cross all barricades to reach the Lahore airport. No one can stop a mass gathering of the people,” he said. “It is not easy to leave my wife on a ventilator in a hospital but I am returning along with my daughter for our nation. I am coming back even if they send me to the gallows.” he said.
"Is there any Pakistani who has had three generations of his family go through an accountability process only to find out that no corruption was ever done?" he asked during the press conference that was broadcast live on Facebook.
Former Pakistan Premier also criticised the court's decision to sentence his daughter to a seven-year term in jail, saying those who did so did not even remember in their hate what stature daughters have in Pakistan.