Ex-Pakistani PM Sharif expected to face arrest on return to Lahore on Friday

Ex-Pakistani PM Sharif expected to face arrest on return to Lahore on Friday

Pakistan’s ousted PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam, are expected to be arrested upon arrival at Lahore airport today.

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Photo: Reuters/Petr Josek

Pakistan’s ousted PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam, are expected to be arrested upon arrival at Lahore airport today. The pair were sentenced in absentia on July 6, receiving 10 and 7 year sentences respectively on corruption charges.

The anticipated arrests come shortly before the July 25 general election, in which Sharif’s younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, is running for Prime Minister. Although opponents have accused Shahbaz of being implicated in the same corruption scandals, the anti-corruption watchdog is now circling him over unrelated charges.

While the PML-N is the preferred party in most national polls, the second opposition PTI party led by Imran Khan has closed the gap significantly. An average 10 point PML-N lead over PTI six months ago has narrowed to only a 3-1% lead with only two weeks remaining until polling day.

Mr Khan has managed to woo 21 defectors so far—a key party tactic. Indeed, if the party keeps losing candidates to PTI in rural areas, it risks losing the vote. Khan’s tactics and the pending arrest of the ruling party’s talisman, combined with the corruption probe hanging over Shahbaz, will likely bleed more votes from PML-N in the coming days.

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