Supporters of Nawaz Sharif clashed with police in Pakistan’s Punjab province as they tried to reach the airport where the former prime minister and his daughter Maryam were arrested on upon their return from London, prompting police to lob tear gas shells and use batons that left at least 50 people injured.
The country’s anti-graft body – National Accountability Bureau arrested Nawaz Sharif, 68, and his daughter Maryam in the Avenfield properties case. They were later taken to Islamabad and sent to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.
Both Nawaz Sharif, the supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, and Maryam have been sentenced by an accountability court to 10 and seven years in jail respectively, in the corruption case related to the Sharif family’s ownership of four luxury flats in London.
The former was found guilty of owning assets beyond known income, while his daughter was convicted for aiding and abetting her father in covering up.
“At least 50 people including 20 policemen have been injured during clashes between PML-N workers, police and the Rangers mostly in Lahore and some adjoining districts in Punjab,” Punjab police spokesman Niyab Haider told PTI.
Thousands of people participated in the PML-N rally organized by its president Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore to greet the two on their arrival at the airport. The participants could not reach the airport as the city was sealed by the police.
Mr Haider said a major clash took place at the Joray Pul, some five km away from the Lahore airport, where the PML-N rally was stopped. The participants threw stones at police and the Rangers as they fired tear gas on them.
“It is not understood why PML-N workers were pressing ahead to get to the airport despite the fact that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were arrested at the airport and flown to Islamabad on a jet,” he said.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Auranzeb told PTI a number of its workers had been injured in clashes with police.
She condemned police for using force to stop PML-N workers. She also demanded immediate release of its workers arrested earlier.
The Lahore High Court on Friday, ordered the release of over 370 PML-N workers who were detained ahead of Nawaz Sharif’s arrival in the city.