Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Twitter melts down over this picture of Nawaz, Maryam with Begum Kulsoom

Twitter melts down over this picture of Nawaz, Maryam with Begum Kulsoom

The photograph, which was tweeted by a Pakistani journalist, and retweeted by Nawaz Sharif's daughter, shows Maryam breaking down as her father Nawaz Sharif keeps his hand on Begum Kulsoom's forehead, hours before they head to the airport to return to Pakistan, where they would be arrested upon arrival.

A Pakistani accountability court on Friday sentenced Sharif in absentia to 10 years in prison for corrupt practices linked to his family's purchase of upscale London flats.

Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is set to arrive in Pakistan later today, reached Abu Dhabi on Friday morning and said he knows that prison awaits him.

Late on Wednesday night, police stormed workers" homes and took them into custody for 30 days to thwart the PML-N's "welcome' procession.

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"If he steps out of the house, he will be arrested", said the police.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, things don't look good for the beleaguered PML-N.

This dramatic return of the former PM comes ahead of Pakistan's general elections which will pit PML-N against its main political rival, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, led by Imran Khan.

Khan has painted Sharif as a "criminal" who has looted the state for decades, and welcomes his prison term as overdue accountability. The both deny wrongdoing.

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For their second engagement of the day, the newlyweds visited Croke Park, headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association.

The military, which has ruled the nuclear-armed country for nearly half its history and ended Sharif's second stint in power in 1999 in a bloodless coup, denies involvement. When he returned to power in 2013, he clashed with the military over how to deal with Islamist militants and his desire for friendlier relations with arch-foe India.

The opposition Pakistan People Party (PPP) has also alleged "pre-poll rigging" this week, but did not specifically name the armed forces.

Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party has said it will mobilise supporters to greet his plane, but government officials have said he will be arrested as soon as he lands. It plans to place 371,000 soldiers around polling stations so there can a "free and fair" elections, it added.

Further, the PML-N president said the verdict in the Avenfield reference was "unjust". They have announced that they will address a rally in Lahore, after which they will surrender.

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Analysts however pointed to the forthcoming anniversary of her husband's death as a reason for the timing. Her brother, Liu Hui, posted on WeChat that his sister had flown to Europe to "start her new life".

"Those who think they can scare your ears and hear this: we are winning this election", Shehbaz Sharif told reporters in Lahore on Thursday.

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