LAHORE, Pakistan—Former Prime Minister
convicted earlier this month of corruption, was arrested after he returned to Pakistan Friday, officials said, as his political party fights to retain power in the current election campaign.
Mr. Sharif was arrested after landing at Lahore airport by officers from the National Accountability Bureau, the country’s anticorruption authority, said
the provincial interior minister. Mr. Javed said the former prime minister was put on a specially arranged flight to Islamabad.
Mr. Sharif is expected to be held at Adiala jail, just outside the capital Islamabad, which has a high-security wing.
The former prime minister was in London, visiting his sick wife, when a Pakistan court last week concluded a corruption case against him and ordered a 10-year sentence. His daughter and political heir,
Maryam Nawaz Sharif,
who returned with him Friday and was also arrested, was sentenced to seven years in the same case.
Ahead of Mr. Sharif’s return, police swept through Lahore, arresting scores of Mr. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League party workers to prevent them from greeting him at the airport.
Barbed wire was strung across some roads leading to the Lahore airport on Friday and barricades were positioned at the roadside ready to close off main boulevards should crowds start to gather.
Underscoring the security threat, more than 70 people, including a political candidate, were killed in a deadly attack on an election rally in southwestern Balochistan province on Friday.
A suicide bomber blew himself up amid scores of supporters who had gathered at a rally in Mastung, a town in Balochistan.
The candidate who died,
is the brother of the former Balochistan chief minister, Aslam Raisani. Caretaker Home Minister
Agha Umar Bungalzai
told the Associated Press that another 120 people were wounded in the bombing.
An earlier bomb Friday killed four people in the northwest near the election rally of a senior politician from an Islamist party who is running for parliament from the northwestern town of Bannu.
The explosion targeted candidate
Akram Khan Durrani,
who escaped unhurt, and wounded 20 people, said Local police chief
Mr. Durrani is running in the July 25 vote against popular former lawmaker
He is a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, an election alliance of radical religious groups.
The second explosion was the one that killed dozens and critically wounded the candidate Mr. Raisani.
No one claimed responsibility for either bombing, but the attacks came days after a suicide bomber dispatched by the Pakistani Taliban killed secular politician
Haroon Ahmed Bilour
and 20 others at his rally in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Former lawmaker Imran Khan, who hopes to become the next prime minister, condemned Friday’s attack against his opponent. In a tweet, he said there seems to be a conspiracy to sabotage the July 25 vote. But he said the people of Pakistan won’t allow anything to prevent “historic” elections from taking place.
—Associated Press contributed to this article.
Write to Saeed Shah at [email protected]
Source : WSJ