Sharif supporters clash with police in Lahore

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Supporters of Nawaz Sharif have 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 their return to the country in a corruption case, 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 Sharif, 68, and Maryam, 48 in the Evenfield properties case upon their arrival here yesterday. They were later taken to Islamabad and sent to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.

Both 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.

“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.

Thousands of people yesterday participated in the PML-N rally led by its president Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore to greet the two leaders on their arrival at the airport. The participants could not reach the airport as the city was sealed off by police to prevent them from reaching the airport.

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 pelted stones at police and the Rangers as they fired tear gas on them.

“It was not understandable as why the 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.

The Lahore High Court yesterday ordered the release of over 370 PML-N workers who were detained ahead of Sharif’s arrival in the city.