Former Pakistan PM, Nawaz Sharif, reaches Abu Dhabi, urges followers for support

Sharif loyalists arrested as former PM returns to appeal conviction

The duo, who are convicted in Avenfield reference case, will stay at the Abu Dhabi airport for seven hours and will reach Lahore at 6.15pm (2.15 United Kingdom time), sources said.

National Accountability Bureau chairperson Javed Iqbal has formed a 16-member team to arrest the two and shift them to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi after producing them at the accountability court.

Sharif reportedly refused to sit in the vehicle of the Rangers to get to the airport terminal.

According to media reports, dozens of security officials entered the plane after it landed and asked other passengers to leave.

The two were convicted on July 6 in the Evenfield properties case linked to the Sharif family's ownership of four luxury flats in London.

Mr Sharif has been sentenced to 10 years while his daughter Maryam was given seven years after corruption charges. They have been been convicted in the Avenfield corruption case.

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In order to "maintain law and order" in the city, 10,000 police officers will be deployed across Lahore on Friday, Dawn quoted Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Shahzad Akbar, as saying.

"It's a matter of pride for us as our leader has chosen to return only to face courts unlike Pervez Musharraf, former military ruler, who is hiding in Dubai", A senior PML-N stalwart told Al Arabiya English.

To keep the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supporters away from the two, containers have also been installed at various points across Lahore.

Mazari for her part said arresting political workers during the crackdown was "so unnecessary".

"We are very clear that PML-N is the largest political party of Pakistan".

Meanwhile, the Pakistani authorities have stopped a convoy of PML-N supporters coming from Faisalabad.

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Nawaz Sharif has called for a "mass gathering of the people".

Sharif has also said the military's intelligence wing, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, is intimidating his party's candidates to switch loyalties, or to run as independents, ahead of the July 25 poll. Since then, rumors have been doing the rounds in Islamabad's power corridors suggesting the duo wouldn't come back to avoid arrest.

According to ANI, Nawaz Sharif, in a video statement, earlier in the day, said, "I did whatever was there in my hand".

"I have done what I could".

"Section 144 has been imposed for us while Imran Khan has been permitted to hold a rally in Defence Housing Authority", he said, adding, "You can do all the rigging you want, we will still win the July 25 polls".

Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court previous year in the Panama Papers case.

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Earlier this year a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan banned Mr Sharif for participating in politics or holding any political office for life.

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