Sharif, daughter on way to Pakistan to face jail in corruption case

The protesters chanted slogans against ex-PM calling him as thief and also blocked the main road

The protesters chanted slogans against ex-PM calling him as thief and also blocked the main road

Since then, a host of his allies have been either disqualified by the courts or face corruption cases. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Underscoring the security threat, were Friday's bombings that killed 69 people in the latest election related violence.

Ahead of his return, police swept through Lahore, arresting scores of his Pakistan Muslim League party workers to prevent them from greeting him at the airport.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Mushahid Hussain Syed on Friday said that the crackdown now underway on political workers in Lahore was being carried out to sabotage the election campaign of his party.

Nawaz and Maryam are expected to be shifted to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, about 240km northwest of Lahore, to join Safdar in custody.

"Why is Lahore under siege?"

It comes as Pakistan is in the midst of a hectic campaign for the general and provincial elections in two weeks' time which turned violent when 10 people were killed by a suicide bomber in south west Pakistan on Friday.

The country's media regulator warned local news channels to abstain from airing statements 'by political leadership containing defamatory and derogatory content targeting. judiciary and armed forces'.

More than 10,000 Sharif supporters were gathered to greet the disgraced PM who was returning from London, where his wife Kulsoom is undergoing cancer treatment.

On July 6, Nawaz was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of eight million pounds was slapped on him in the Avenfield reference case, while Maryam was sentenced to seven years of jail and fined two million pounds, by the Accountability Court.

Sharif alleges the military is aiding a "judicial witch-hunt" against him and his PML-N party.

Their swift departure prevented PML-N workers staging a hero's welcome on the streets of Lahore, where Sharif's brother, Shehbaz, led between 10,000 and 20,000 party supporters on a march in defiance off a citywide ban on public gatherings ordered by the caretaker government that took over in June, as Pakistan's constitution requires in the lead-in to an election. The party's past five years in power has been punctuated by the civil-military discord that has plagued Pakistan since its inception. The military denied the accusations, and said its assistance had been requested by Pakistan's election commission. It plans to place 371,000 soldiers around polling stations so there can a "free and fair" elections, an army spokesperson said this week.

Recent opinion polls suggest Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is losing its lead nationally to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party of arch-rival Khan, whose anti-corruption message has resonated with many Pakistanis.

The case pertains to the purchase of Avenfield apartments through offshore companies, the beneficial owner of which was Maryam. They both deny wrongdoing.

The elder Sharif had been dismissed as prime minister last July, after the Supreme Court ruled that he had lied on a parliamentary wealth declaration.

Senior PML-N leaders, including Nawaz's brother Shehbaz, led rallies to the airport from across the Punjab province that is their political base.

The Avenfield corruption case is among the multiple graft cases filed against the former Premier and his children by the anti-corruption body on the Supreme Court's directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict past year.

PML-N has also been riven by internal divisions.

More than 300 leaders and members of the PML-N have been detained in a widespread crackdown on the party's activists in Lahore ahead of Nawaz and Maryam's arrival, according to local media.

Nawaz Sharif has called for a "mass gathering of the people".

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