Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister, is expected to return to Pakistan on Friday, July 13. Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, will fly into Lahore via Allama Iqbal International Airport (LHE) from London. According to media reports, both of them are expected to be arrested upon entering country over corruption charges. Heightened security measures are anticipated in and around LHE on July 13, which may result in disruptions to flights or airport operations. Demonstrations in support of Sharif are possible in Lahore and other urban centers across the country.
Sharif was found guilty of corruption by an Islamabad anticorruption court and sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison on July 6. Sharif's daughter and her husband, Muhammad Safdar, were also convicted and sentenced to seven years and one year of prison, respectively. All have denied any wrongdoing and claim the case is politically motivated.
Prime Minister Sharif was ousted in 2017 and barred from holding public office, after the 2015 Panama Papers leak led to a corruption probe into his family's wealth and found undeclared property abroad, notably in London. Friday's conviction comes only weeks before Pakistan is slated to hold general elections on July 25. Sharif's sidelining from politics leaves his Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party without a clear leader.
Travelers flying to or from LHE on July 13 are advised to confirm their reservations and anticipate possible disruptions. Individuals in Lahore and other major cities are advised to exercise extreme caution and to avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings. Monitor the situation over the coming weeks and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities.
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