Sharif reportedly refused to sit in the vehicle of the Rangers to get to the airport terminal.
Officials from Pakistan's anti-graft body were present at the airport to take them into custody after their conviction in the Evenfield properties case linked to his family's ownership of four luxury flats in London. If the weather is not suitable for a helicopter ride, they will be driven to Attock jail, which is closest to the airport.
Some 10,000 police have been deployed to maintain security as they fear supporters may prevent Mr Sharif's arrest. Large shipping containers will be placed on roads leading to IIA, along with deployments of riot police at the sealed points.
Sharif's son-in-law is serving a one-year prison sentence on the same charge, which stems from the purchase of luxury apartments in the United Kingdom that the court said were bought with illegally acquired money.
Mobile phone service had been cut off in mid-afternoon, as Sharif's brother, Shehbaz, led around 10,000 party supporters on a march towards the city centre in defiance of a citywide ban on public gatherings, according to a Reuters witness.
Uniformed men escorted the Sharifs, who were sentenced in absentia on corruption charges last week, from their airplane after it touched down in the central city of Lahore at around 8:45 p.m. (1645 GMT), a Reuters reporter on board said.
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Additional Deputy Commissioner Sara Hayat said the district administration had not received any orders to stop PML-N workers from going to Lahore. "I am thankful to the people of Lahore for coming out in such a huge number", he said, adding that the people have rejected the decision of the court to convict Sharif and Maryam. In a video message, tweeted by Maryam Nawaz, the former leader urged his followers to stand with him and "change the fate of the country".
Sharif's son-in-law Capt (retd) Mohammad Safdar, who was awarded one-year jail term, has already been arrested and shifted to Adiala prison.
"The country is at a critical juncture right now", a grim looking Sharif said. They have been been convicted in the Avenfield corruption case. But he said the people of Pakistan will not allow anything to prevent "historic" elections from taking place. They also clashed with riot police in parts of the capital of the country's most populous province of Punjab. Many PML-N lawmakers have also defected to Khan's party.
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.
Since his dismissal, he has led a series of rallies across the country, pointing the finger of blame at Pakistan's powerful military, which has ruled it for roughly half of its 70-year history and still largely controls security and foreign policy.
At least 88 people were killed in two separate attacks targeting election rallies in Pakistan on Friday, in advance of Sharif's arrival.