Islamabad, Nov 25: Police detained hundreds of supporters of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ahead of his return from exile, his party has said. In a crackdown that began late Saturday, some 1,800 activists of the PML-N were detained in Punjab, party spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said. There was no official confirmation of the arrests.
PML-N leader Pervez Malik said that Police detained 20 party workers when they were celebrating ahead of the homecoming of their leader Nawaz Sharif. The police also conducted raids in Shadman Colony of Lahore and arrested more than 10 party activists.
According to reports police also conducted raids in Gujranwala at homes of PML-N workers and arrested more than 75 party workers.
Sharif along with his brother Shahbaz Sharif and other family members will land in Lahore at 4:00 p.m.
Earlier, the Punjab government is likely to thwart the Sharifs" plan of paying homage to Hazrat Data Gunj Bukhsh soon after their landing in the city, as the caretaker government might either airlift or take Sharifs by road straight to Jati Umra in Raiwind from the airport.
The late-night change in the government"s plan was the result of caretaker Chief Minister Ejaz Nisar"s meeting with the law-enforcers.
However, the government has also worked on another plan that is letting the Sharifs visit the Data Darbar with a little bit of caution, The News reported.
Sources close to the Sharif family have also confirmed that the Punjab government has persuaded Hamza Shahbaz to ask his family to go to Jati Umra directly from the airport. However, Hamza refused to accept the government plan.
Sources in the government said the caretaker set-up in the Punjab was inclined to deprive the Sharifs of any political mileage on their return to the province where the Chaudhrys had high political stakes.