As Begum Kulsoom Nawaz regained "consciousness" on Thursday and deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif confirmed his homecoming on Friday, the stage is set for a tense showdown between the Punjab caretaker government and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) zealots amid a police crackdown on party workers in Lahore and its surrounding areas.
More than 100 people were arrested in his stronghold of Lahore where he has called on crowds to meet him when he touches down from London on Friday evening.
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.
Sharif is accompanied by his daughter Maryam Nawaz who is also convicted and sentenced to seven years of prison.
Nawaz Sharif and his daughter has both been sentenced to lengthy jail terms in absentia, in a high-stakes gamble to galvanize their beleaguered party ahead of a July 25 general election.
Hours before his imminent arrest, Mr Sharif said, "Maryam and I are coming back to face prison, and even if they send me to the gallows, we know that freedom can not be won without sacrifice". They are expected to land at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport at 6.15 PM (local time) on Etihad Airways flight EY243, the Dawn reported. "Goodbyes are hard, even for the grownups", Maryam had tweeted with a picture of her children.
"Punjab government has not issued any kind of instructions to police for a crackdown against PML-N activists", he said.
Their return could shake up an election race marred by claims Pakistan's powerful military was skewing the contest in favour of ex-cricket hero Imran Khan.
According to Lahore's City Traffic Officer, the plan will be executed before the rally of the PML-N, while more than 200 wardens will be deputed to maintain the flow of the traffic.
"If he steps out of the house, he will be arrested", said the police.
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.
Urging the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to take notice of the emerging situation, the PML-N president said, "By the time our workers are released polls will be over".
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Sharif, his daughter will be arrested on their arrival
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has also announced that it will arrest the two on their arrival in Lahore on Friday. Scores of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supporters are also expected to arrive at the airport to receive them.