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NAB on the hunt for Leader of Opposition Shahbaz Sharif

By News Desk
June 03, 2020

Ag Sabah

LAHORE: Pakistani politics was plunged into fresh uncertainty on Tuesday after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) mounted a bid to arrest Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif in a graft case, Geo News reported.

Police personnel and NAB officials surrounded Sharif’s Model Town residence for nearly two hours, and there were reports of shoving between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) activists and the police. A heavy contingent of police officers blocked media personnel and protesting party workers with a barricade.

Party spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb reached Model Town and quickly blamed the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of the action in a fiery speech, calling the move “a circus and drama of NAB-Niazi nexus”.

Aurangzeb said Shahbaz had to go to the NAB’s office earlier on Tuesday and that he had submitted a petition in the Lahore High Court claiming the operations of NAB were “ill-intentioned and based on political revenge”.

“The entire nation is aware of the nefarious agendas of NAB-Niazi nexus. A divisional bench of the LHC has scheduled a hearing for the petition for tomorrow (Wednesday),” she said, adding that the PML-N president wrote to the anti-graft body about how its officers had tested positive for coronavirus and since he was a cancer survivor, he would not make an appearance. A two-member bench of the Lahore High Court, headed by Justice Muhammad Tariq Abbasi will hear the plea today. Aurangzeb added: “The cases against Shahbaz -- from Ganda Naala, Saaf Pani, Ashiana scheme, 56 companies, earthquake funds embezzlement — all are false. The entire drama for the past two-and-a-half years is in front of the Pakistani people.”

She then said angrily: “If Shahbaz Sharif is arrested today, the nation will go to the sugar thief Imran Khan’s Bani Gala residence and arrest the Prime Minister.”

The NAB team left Sharif’s Model Town residence after they were unable to find him and were reportedly planning to head to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Jati Umra residence. Geo News reported later that the bureau was aware that Shahbaz was not present there as well.

Speaking on the developments, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah said the actions of police and the NAB fell under “contempt of court”. The high court, he added, has already scheduled a hearing for the case on Wednesday. Such behaviour was indicative of the “government’s confusion”, Sanaullah said.

“The whole nation is concerned over the coronavirus pandemic and locusts’ attack but the rulers are engaged in vindictive actions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Punjab government spokesperson and member of the PTI Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan insisted that the government has nothing to do with the move and the NAB is an independent institution.