Within minutes of touching down in Lahore on Friday, former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam, who are convicted for corruption, were arrested. Ahead of the country’s general election on July 25, Sharif said the arrest was a “very small price to pay” to save the sanctity of the vote in Pakistan, reported news agency Reuters. The duo was allowed to meet Begum Shamim Akhtar, Sharif’s mother, at the airport before boarding a special flight to the capital Islamabad to serve their sentence at Adiala jail, Rawalpindi.
On arriving at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport, scores of officials from the National Accountability Bureau, the country’s anti-graft body, entered the plane to arrest Sharif and Maryam, who surrendered without any resistance. In a video message posted hours before landing in Lahore, Sharif said he was aware of his impending arrest and was doing it for the country.
“The country is at a critical juncture right now. I have done what I could. I am aware that I have been sentenced to 10 years (in prison) and I will be taken to a jail cell straight away. But I want Pakistani nationals to know that I am doing this for you,” he said in the video released by Maryam.