Sharif’s flight to Pakistan faces unspecified delay

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Lahore : Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter’s flight from Abu Dhabi to Lahore has been delayed due to “unspecified” reasons, Pakistani media reported today.

Sharif, 68, and his daughter are held up at the Abu Dhabi international airport on their way to Lahore from London. They are returning to Pakistan to face a prison sentence handed out on July 6 by an accountability court in a corruption case.

Their flight, Etihad Airways flight EY243, was earlier scheduled to land at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport at 6:15 PM local time.

Dawn newspaper quoting an airport official said the reason for the hold-up was a delay in an Etihad flight arriving in Abu Dhabi from Bangkok, which is supposed to fly EY243’s passengers to Lahore. The paper said Sharif and Maryam had to wait in Abu Dhabi as flight faced “unspecified” delay.

Airport officials say the flight is expected to take off at 4.40 PM (5:10 PM IST), but boarding had still not commenced.

Sharif, the supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League, and Maryam are set to be arrested on their arrival at Lahore airport, from where they are expected to be taken to Islamabad by helicopter and moved to Adiala jail.

While waiting at the Abu Dhabi airport’s lounge, Sharif told media outlets that he wondered how a flight “that is never late” has been delayed today and urged people to “think about who delayed this flight and why.”

When asked if he believes that returning to Pakistan in the current “tense” situation is a good idea, Sharif said that he knows what the situation in the country is like.

“I know I have been handed a 10-year sentence and Maryam has been given seven years in jail, but we are returning because this country’s fate needs to change we need to change it.”

“The media also needs be brave and take a stand in the face of it all,” Sharif said.

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