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Pakistan

Web Desk
August 11, 2020

‘NAB wanted to harm me,’ says Maryam Nawaz after Lahore clashes

Pakistan

Web Desk
Tue, Aug 11, 2020

PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz addressing a press conference in Lahore, on August 11.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Tuesday said that she was called through a “vague call-up notice” by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to "harm" her.

Maryam Nawaz was addressing a press conference in Model Town after the clashes between PML-N workers and police ahead of her appearance before the anti-graft authorities earlier today.

“The state of fear and terrorism I faced today is a source of worry for this selected government, she said, adding “I condemn attack on PML-N workers.”

Flanked by senior PML-N leaders, Rana Sanaullah, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Marriyum Aurangzeb and others, she called today’s incident an act of “state-sponsored terrorism" witnessed by her personally.

“For the first time I saw stoning and NAB-gardi and tear-gas shelling but the workers remained steadfast,” she said in an apparent appreciation.

She said that despite the shelling and the injuries, the workers stood by her. “I pay salute to them, courtesy of the media.”

The PML-N leader said that former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah has said that the party will provide legal assistance to the arrested and detained workers.

Calling the guards “unsung heroes”, the PML-N leader said she could not initially ascertain where were the stones being hurled from, adding that she narrowly escaped a head injury or similar accident.

Maryam said she received NAB’s summons day before yesterday and alleged that the anti-corruption watchdog had leaked the information to media about the notice.

“There’s no allegation in the notice even,” she said and read out the summons in front of media persons. “The reason to call me on this vague notice was to harm me.”

She said that police hurled stones on her bulletproof vehicle which damaged the windscreen. “Had it not been a bulletproof car, I would have been hit on my head.”

“Pervaiz Rasheed was in the car with me, he told me that thankfully it was bulletproof car otherwise the stones and bricks would have hit my head,” Maryam Nawaz said, adding that the NAB after calling her to the “place of vengeance,” told her to return after the scuffle broke out.

The PML-N leader condemned the government for having arrested Jang/Geo Media Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. She said that the government was trying to suppress the voice of the media.

Referring indirectly to Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, Maryam said, "A minister said he would speak to Imran Khan about releasing Mir Shakil. Did Imran Khan arrest Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman or NAB did?" she asked.

Referring to the All-Parties Conference, she said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had instructed the party leadership to follow and cooperate with other Opposition parties to present a united front.

"If Maulana sahab has any reservations, the PML-N will remove them. No need to worry about this," said Maryam.

According to the internal surveys that the government does not release to the public, the popularity graph of the PML-N has risen, especially in Punjab, and the PTI government is now scared to leave the government, she said.

Clashes outside NAB office

 Maryam Nawaz was not able to appear before the NAB today after her car was blocked from entering as her party workers and police clashed outside the anti-corruption watchdog’s office in Lahore. 

After a deadlock for over an hour where the PML-N leader refused to leave before NAB recorded her statement, Maryam turned back shortly after the Bureau announced via a press release that today's proceedings had been cancelled.

The law enforcement officials started also arresting the PML-N workers outside the NAB office after Maryam Nawaz left for her residence.

The police and PML-N workers clashed after law enforcement personnel tried stopping the supporters from breaching the barriers set outside the watchdog’s office. The PML-N workers reportedly started pelting stones at the police following the scuffle.

The police pelted stones back at the PML-N workers accompanying Maryam. The pelting allegedly damaged the windshield of Maryam's car.

“Police attacking my car. Imagine if it were not a bullet proof vehicle. Shame,” tweeted Maryam Nawaz with a video of police pelting stones at her convoy.

In a separate video showing the damaged windshield, Maryam said that the police was firing teargas at her convoy. She added that police were pelting stones and shelling outside NAB's office to disperse the PML-N workers who had gathered outside.

“If you are so afraid of PML-N, if you are so afraid of Nawaz Sharif, if you are so afraid of Maryam Nawaz, then why do you summon Maryam Nawaz? If there is so much fear then why do you summon [me]?,” Maryam said in the video.

In a separate tweet, the PML-N leader also condemned the police "actions" against the "peaceful" protesters that had gathered outside NAB's office in support of her.

Later, the PML-N leader also came out to address her workers present outside the NAB office.

“I am standing here. If you have summoned me then listen to my answers,” said Maryam after coming out of her car to address PML-N workers. She added that she will not leave as she has come to respond to the “fake allegations” against her.

PML-N leaders and activists had planned to receive their leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif outside the NAB office after the PML-N Lahore president started motivating activists and workers to set up reception camps on every route leading to the NAB office.

NAB cancels hearing

NAB has said that it has cancelled the PML-N leader’s hearing due to the situation outside its office.

“For the first time in 20 years, [a] national and constitutional institute has been dealt with like this,” said NAB in a statement.

The bureau also said that the PML-N leader was summoned in her “personal capacity” to record her statement. It added that PML-N workers were “used” under an “organised plan”.

The anti-corruption watchdog said that it will also register an FIR against the accused for meddling in affairs of the state after taking the approval from NAB chairman. It also clarified that it has no link with any political party and group.

PML-N workers seen loading stones in shopper bags

A footage available with Geo News shows, what appears to be, PML-N workers loading stones in shopper bags, onto a double cabin vehicle.

Large stones can be seen in a footage loaded on to a double cabin vehicle. Photo: Screengrab Geo TV

Punjab CM takes notice of clashes

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the clashes outside the NAB office and directed the chief secretary and inspector general of police to submit a report on the matter.

“No one will be allowed to take the law in their hands,” said CM Buzdar in a statement. He added that action will be taken against those who violated the law.

Bilawal, Shehbaz condemn use of "force"

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif condemned the shelling and pelting of stones on Maryam Nawaz's convoy.

Shehbaz said that "NAB-Niazi nexus " is behind the attack on the PML-N leader's car and party workers. 

"Imran Niazi is on a negative path of undemocratic, illegal and political revenge against [his] political opponents," said Shehbaz in a statement tweeted by the party.

Pakistan Peooples Party Chairman  Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the "unnecessary" use of force, teargas and stone pelting on the PML-N leader.

Summons by NAB

Last week, NAB had summoned Maryam Nawaz to appear before it in a case related to her illegally acquiring hundreds of acres of land in Raiwind.

Maryam Nawaz had decided to appear before NAB for questioning in connection with its probe into the case.

Party sources revealed that she made this decision after consultation with lawyers, family members and party leaders. NAB has asked Maryam to turn up before its combined investigation team on August 11 along with details of 200 acres of land she allegedly acquired in Raiwind in 2013 in violation of rules.

She was required to furnish complete details regarding the sale and purchase of land as well as funds arranged for acquiring the land. The bureau has asked her to submit details of duty and tax payment for the purchase of the land in question and whether the land had been brought in agriculture or commercial use.

NAB has also decided to probe former DCOs Noorul Amin Mengal and Ahad Cheema in the case. Earlier in May, NAB Lahore had opened an investigation against the Sharif family for illegally acquiring hundreds of acres of land in Raiwind to include  in its Jati Umra residence.