Hundreds of former Pakistan ruling party members detained, they say

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Scores of party activists faithful to the ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif were arrested in night raids ahead of his return to Pakistan and a showdown with the country's security officials and judiciary.

NAB Rawalpindi has asked for and got ten woman police personnel from Pakistan's Punjab province, but sources told The News that it is still highly unlikely Maryam would be lodged at NAB's police station at the Rawalpindi bureau, where her father will most likely be taken.

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. "I have done what I could". But I'm doing this for people of Pakistan, sacrificing for generations to come.

Flights that were to arrive at Islamabad airport this morning have been diverted to Lahore airport. "If they will be sent to jail, then I will also go with them", Sharif's mother said.

The return comes a week after the accountability court verdict against them sentencing Nawaz 11-year prison, and eight years to Maryam Nawaz in the Avenfield properties case. They have announced that they will address a rally in Lahore, after which they will surrender.

Sharif's PML-N expects a groundswell of support as he returns from London, where his wife Kulsoom is critically ill and undergoing cancer treatment.

The Cabinet Division has reportedly allocated two helicopters - reserved for the prime minister - to NAB to shift Sharif and his daughter to the jail from the airport.

Police and city administration have blocked all roads leading to the Lahore airport by placing containers to bar PML-N workers and leaders to reach from welcoming the duo.

"Everyone is involved in this blatant rigging from the caretaker Punjab chief minister to the caretaker interior minister and police officials", the PML-N president asserted, as he warned the officials concerned of "fair judgement" if the PML-N is voted to power again. The military denied the accusations saying their assistance in carrying out the elections was requested by Pakistan's Election Commission.

The kind of reception Sharif receives on the streets of Lahore will be viewed carefully in Pakistan, where political popularity is often measured by the size of rallies that politicians can attract.

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