Pakistan's ex-PM Nawaz Sharif and daughter arrested on return to country: local TV

Ousted Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, appears with his daughter Maryam, at a news conference at a hotel in London, Britain July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani authorities arrested ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam on Friday night shortly after they returned to face lengthy prison sentences, hoping galvanize their beleaguered party ahead of a July 25 election.

Uniformed men escorted the Sharifs, who were sentenced in absentia on corruption charges last week, from the airplane soon after it touched down in the central city of Lahore at around 8:45 p.m. (1645 GMT), a Reuters reporter on the plane said.

Local Geo TV reported the pair were placed under arrest shortly afterwards and taken to another waiting airplane to be transported out of Lahore, where more than 10,000 Sharif supporters were gathered to support him.

The Sharifs’ return could shake up an election race marred by accusations Pakistan’s powerful military is working behind the scenes to skew the contest in favor of ex-cricket hero Imran Khan, who describes Sharif as a “criminal” who deserves no support.

Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Alex Richardson