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Shahbaz’s arrest not only unfortunate but also ridiculous: Nawaz

The PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Friday said the arrest of party President Shahbaz Sharif is not only an unfortunate act but also ridiculous.

By Moayyed Jafri & News Desk
October 06, 2018

LAHORE: The PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Friday said the arrest of party President Shahbaz Sharif is not only an unfortunate act but also ridiculous.

The former prime minister in a statement said everyone knows that the PTI government is undertaking worst possible political victimisation and they should be prepared to face the same attitude which they are currently showing towards the rivals. He said Shahbaz had set a great example of service and honesty, which was acknowledged by foreign governments and international institutions, adding the PTI government should not shift the responsibility of its incompetency to Shahbaz.

On the other hand, Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz on Friday said Shahbaz’s arrest is a continuation of the same pre-poll manipulation used in the general elections because Imran Khan’s government is hanging by a thread of just four seats and they knew the PTI would lose the majority if free, fair and transparent by-elections are held on the 11 National Assembly seats. “Not a single penny of the taxpayers money was embezzled or lost in the cases in which Shahbaz was arrested,” challenged Hamza. “Imran Khan cannot hide the illegitimacy of his manipulated mandate and the incompetence of himself and his entire party behind such diversion through false allegations ofdiversion through false corruption allegations. The PML-N will fight this oppression and victimisation in every constitutional forum and out on the streets, if need be,” he added.

Addressing a press conference at the PML-N Model Town Secretariat, he said that Imran could try his hand at using NAB to influence the elections and pressurise the PML-N, but it would not stop exposing the illegitimacy and incompetence of the PTI government whatever the cost might be. “Even after over 190 hearings and exhaustive investigation, the judge had to mention that there was no proof of corruption against Nawaz Sharif; same would happen in this case,” he added.

Hamza said it was such an unending string of bizarrely similar coincidence that every time there an election approaching was and the PTI seemed clearly in trouble, the NAB obliged. “The PML-N leaders are arrested, the campaign is sabotaged, pressure and influence is used ruthlessly and later the people of this country are left confused because the results don’t reflect their votes,” he remarked.

“If the NAB is independent, how come government ministers claim that they know that more arrests of key PML-N leaders are coming up? If the NAB is independent, why did the PTI submit a resolution paying tributes and spurring on NAB in the Punjab Assembly right after Shahbaz Sharif’s arrest?” questioned Hamza.

Hamza said the PTI chief did not have it in him to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan, he was still the person on the container, full of vengeance, incompetence and empty rhetoric, however, he [Hamza] would not stoop to the level of the container lingua.

The PML-N leader said if the NAB was so independent, they should tell the people that the board of the company, not Shahbaz, had cancelled the contract of Chaudhry Latif.

“The NAB should also tell who this contractor Chaudhry Latif is. He is the same person who is an absconder in the corruption cases, is a convict who paid ten-times the amount of plea-bargain to avoid jail-time and after such a black-listed profile, was given the contract of Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit by the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he pointed out.

“If NAB is independent and this is across-the-board accountability, why are people like Zulfi Bukhari, Babar Awan who was a proven convict by the court, and Aleem Khan who is a known land-grabber still looming free?” the PMLN leader questioned further.

Hamza said the Musharraf government had dug for 10 years to pin false corruption on the Sharif Family, but after 10 years, a the then senior NAB official called and told him that they could not find any dirt on Nawaz or Shahbaz to satisfy Musharraf.

He said that he was proud to be the nephew of Nawaz and son of Shehbaz who had served the country and its people in the face of worst allegations, victimisation and persecution by those not allowing the country to progress.

“Imran Khan, an accused in the helicopter misuse case, met the NAB chief just two after becoming prime minister to ask him to do the same, but he should learn from his mentor Musharraf. These victimisation tactics did not pay in the past and would not pay now,” advised Hamza.

Hamza rejected all presumptions of a split in the PML-N narrative and said Nawaz was the party leader and all the decisions were made with his consultation.

On the other hand, the PML-N parliamentary party said the arrest of Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly was an unlawful act and a textbook case of political victimisation.

They said it was not the first time that such an act of vengeance had been committed. “The practice of punishing the representatives of people for serving the people has a long history in the republic which had led to major losses for the country in the short and long term,” they said.

The unfortunate history of using NAB for political victimisation was once again being repeated which depicted the extremely sad state of affairs in the country, they added.

The party pointed out that the leading countries in international development like China and Turkey lauded Shahbaz with accolades for his unprecedented development, while his own country rewarded his services by arresting him.

“Presenting the politicians of the Pakistan as the root of all corruption and evil is unpatriotic and is damaging the country in ways which will only be visible to the uninitiated when it is too late,” the party opined.

“This arrest right at the verge of by-polls shows how petrified the PTI government is of PML-N because they know that free, fair and transparent elections would wipe them off the face of Pakistan’s politics.”

“The stark difference of treatment vis-à-vis the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition is being witnessed by not just the country but the entire world which does not represent a healthy democracy and undermines the image of Pakistan in the global community,” the party observed.

They, however, held that PML-N was not new to such persecution as the party workers, leaders and supporters had braved the oppression of the Musharraf era with courage, valour and conviction. “The course of further action in this regard would be finalised after consultation with part leadership,” read the statement.

Meanwhile, a meeting of PML-N lawyers was held at 96-H with Hamza in the chair, which discussed the legal modalities of the arrest and the way forward to pursue the bail for Shahbaz Sharif preferably today (Friday).

Similarly, PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said Shahbaz was summoned in connection with Punjab Saaf Pani Company case but then NAB arrested him in the Ashiana case. Such steps were being taken as neither a minus-one could be executed or split manufactured in the PML-N, she added.