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September 29, 2020

‘It’s pure injustice, victimisation’

Top Story

September 29, 2020

LONDON/ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party Monday condemned the arrest and indictment of their top leaders in money laundering cases, saying it was the worst form of injustice and victimization.

Former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif condemned the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif and termed it the “worst form of injustice”. Speaking to the Pakistani media near the Hyde Park Corner office of his son Hasan Nawaz, he said, “This is extreme injustice. This is cruelty. I have already said it in my All Parties Conference (APC) speech. The current government and the system in place have violated all norms of decency. Such tactics are rejected and not acceptable to us. We will not surrender.”

Nawaz said the nation was expecting that Prime Minister Imran Khan would arrest those in its ranks but instead Shahbaz Sharif was arrested.

Nawaz Sharif was joined by his nephew Suleman Shahbaz, Ishaq Dar, Abid Sher Ali, Nasir Butt, Ejaz Gull and Ali Dar. Suleman said Shahbaz Sharif had informed in advance that Imran Khan and the NAB would put him behind the bars.

“The partnership between NAB and Imran Khan is proven. There is no doubt that Imran Khan is a selected Prime Minister. He has failed badly. He has failed to fulfill commitments on delivering 10 million jobs, five million homes and other tall promises. To deflect the attention of masses from these promises and to befool them, they have started using such tactics. We have been vindicated in the court of Pakistani people before and will be vindicated again with the help of Allah. We will not surrender and we will not give up,” Suleman said.

Ishaq Dar said the PML-N never blamed institutions for being behind the alleged rigging in 2018 elections and a long campaign against the PML-N government prior to that. “Only a handful of people are behind the ‘selected government’ and actions of revenge in the name of accountability.

Dar added that the whole PML-N was united behind Nawaz Sharif’s narrative and arrest of Shahbaz Sharif had proved that the NAB was in control of Imran Khan. PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said Mian Nawaz Sharif would get back soon and lead the party as well as the movement against the government.

Addressing a press conference at Lahore, she said, “A surgery of his [Nawaz] heart is pending, and he will definitely come back to Pakistan, which is his country, and where the graves of his father and wife are situated.”

Maryam said the anti-government movement would not stop with the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif, rather the unjust act would add fuel to fire. "This movement will not suffer a setback due to Shahbaz Sharif's arrest," she insisted.

She said even if the entire PML-N leadership, including her, was arrested, the movement would not stop. Terming the arrest extremely unfortunate, Maryam said she had no doubts that the PML-N president had been picked up because he chose not to betray his brother, Nawaz Sharif.

"He [Shahbaz Sharif] not only stood with his brother but his loyalty to his brother's cause and the party remained unwavering. “His wife has been declared an absconder; his son, my brother Hamza, has been sent to jail, though no case has been proven against him.

"During the last week, Shahbaz gave two to three statements, saying that if they want to arrest him, they can , but the party will implement 100% of the directions given in Nawaz Sharif's speech at the APC," she said, referring to a statement made by the PML-N supremo at the opposition's multiparty conference last week.

The PML-N leader said the party had all its options open including resignations from all assemblies as well as launching a long march, and the party was deliberating on all options. “Those who are talking about birth of ‘Sheen’ from ‘Noon’ are now screaming because Sheen and Noon are completely united and can’t be separated,” she said, adding that Shahbaz was arrested though nothing was proved against him.

Questioning the accountability and justice system, she said those who stood for justice were behind the bars or were submitting their financial details. Earlier, Ahsan Iqbal criticised the government for arresting Shahbaz Sharif. He said the government wanted to rig the Gilgit-Baltistan elections and that was why Shahbaz Sharif was arrested.

He said the government had waged the war and the PML-N would fight it out on all forums and would win it with the support of the people of Pakistan. Also, party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb criticised the move, saying: "I want to state it clearly here that the PLN-N leader was arrested by NAB on the behest of Prime Minister Imran Khan.”

"For the last two years, the public has been witness to this spectacle of NAB trying to subdue emerging voices by using corruption and various other cases," Aurangzeb said in her statement to the media. "Just like the general elections of 2018, it has been decided to rig the upcoming Gilgit-Baltistan polls," she alleged.

The PML-N spokesperson claimed that Shahbaz's arrest was "an attempt to paralyse" the political developments taking place following the opposition's multiparty conference. Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari termed the indictment of Zardari and Faryal Talpur victimization even during the global pandemic.

In a tweet, Bilawal said despite two years of court appearances and their names on the Exit Control List and jail, Zardari and Faryal continued to face courts. He further tweeted that a runaway dictator traitor and some members in the government ranks won’t be summoned because there were two laws in Pakistan.

He strongly condemned the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif and said the government was afraid of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and resorted to highhandedness against the opposition leaders.

He made it clear that the government could not impede people’s resistance by targeting the opposition leaders and challenged the regime to do whatever it could but the PDM’s struggle won’t stop.