From jail, Pakistan's ex-PM Sharif appeals his sentence

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Sharif is expected to be whisked away by helicopter to the federal capital of Islamabad when he returns to Pakistan from London to face a 10-year prison sentence for corruption.

The rally, which comprised a large number of PML-N party workers and supporters were supposed to reach Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport to receive Nawaz and his daughter Maryam, who were arriving from London. The military denied the accusations saying their assistance in carrying out the elections was requested by Pakistan's Election Commission.

Imran Khan is also contesting the elections and is confident about his chances of being anointed as the Honorable Prime Minister of the nation.

"Those who think they can scare your ears and hear this: we are winning this election", Shehbaz Sharif told reporters in Lahore on Thursday. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Shipping container barricades were also placed across roads to the airport and mobile phone coverage was cut off in large parts of the city.

Nawaz Sharif decried the tactics ordered by the caretaker government that took over in June ahead of the general election, as Pakistan's constitution requires.

'Why is Lahore under siege?

After being given medical checks, local media reports said the pair had been installed in special "b-class" accommodation reserved for prisoners whose "social status, education or habit of life have been accustomed to a superior mode of living".

Earlier on Friday, a suicide bomb at a political rally in Mastung killed 85 people and injured more than 100.

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So far more than 170 people have died in election-related attacks, underscoring the security threat ahead of the vote.

It is pertinent here to mention that on Friday, accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir had sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years, his daughter Maryam to seven years and son-in-law, Muhammad Safdar to one-year imprisonment in a corruption case named Avenfield Apartment reference.

According to the sources, Nawaz Sharif asked Shahbaz Sharif to take a hard line against the arrest and intimidation of the party workers and leaders who wanted to accord him a welcome on his return. The country has, over the years, seen power see-sawing between the military and civilian leadership.

Sharif was the 15th prime minister in Pakistan's 70-year history - roughly half of it under military rule - to be removed before completing a full term.

Sharif's wife Kulsoom is on ventilator at a hospital in London.

Geo TV quoted sources saying that the authorities made a decision to keep the father-daughter duo at Adiala Jail for the time being.

Sharif has been banned from participating in politics, and his brother Shahbaz Sharif now heads his Pakistan Muslim League and is fighting for re-election on July 25.

National polls indicate a close race between the PML-N and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI, or Pakistan Justice Movement) led by Khan, with the Pakistan Peoples Party in third place.