LAHORE: After spending 20 months in jail on charges of money-laundering, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hamza Shahbaz was released on bail, here on Saturday.
PML-N central leader Maryam Nawaz, along with other party leaders including Pervaiz Rashid, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Ata Tarar, greeted Hamza Shahbaz on the jail gate.
A large number of PML-N workers and local leaders were also present outside the jail. The workers greeted their leader by dancing to the drum beats and party songs. The party had established several welcome camps on the Hamza Shahbaz route, from jail to his house in Model Town. Every camp was full of jubilant party workers, who blocked the road when Hamza’s caravan reached near them. They also showered rose petals on their leaders, especially Hamza Shahbaz.
Hamza release orders were issued by the accountability court duty judge Akmal Khan after the surety bonds, deposited by the PML-N leader, were verified.
Hamza, while addressing party workers after his release, said the government had failed to prove corruption of even a single penny against him and other PML-N leaders despite being in power for three years and despite keeping him in jail for 20 months.
He said that incompetent rulers had destroyed the country. "The day is not far when those who talk about the state of Madinah will have to give answers," he maintained.“Those who asked for commission from Broadsheet are free, while those who saved billions of rupees of the national exchequer are facing NAB cases,” Hamza regretted, adding that the government officials were lying to the people that they had proofs against the opposition leaders. "Had they been in possession of any proofs, I would have not been released from jail,” he added.
Earlier, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz arrived outside Kot Lakhpat Jail where she received her cousin. Maryam got into the car of Hamza Shahbaz instead of using her own vehicle and reached the reception. Hamza Shahbaz's car was driven by Ataullah Tarar while Marriyum Aurangzeb was also sitting in the same car. Maryam Nawaz also shared her selfie with Hamza Shahbaz on her twitter account.
Before leaving the jail, opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly met his father and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, who is also in the same jail.
Party sources said Shahbaz Sharif congratulated his son on his release on bail. Members of the Sharif family also reached Kot Lakhpat Jail. Sources said Hamza Shahbaz's wife Rabia, sister Javeriya, Shahbaz Sharif's sister Kausar, wife Tehmina Durrani, nephew Yusuf Abbas, Maria Yusuf and Saira Yusuf and Mian Waqar reached the jail and met Hamza Shahbaz and congratulated him.
Earlier, leaving Jati Umrah for jail, Maryam said Imran Khan had come to government through a conspiracy, but now there was no chance for him to come to power again.
Answering a question, she said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) would soon start its preparations for the proposed long march, “but it seems the government may not remain in place before the long march”.
“The election surety of PTI candidate in Daska will be forfeited if the re-election occurred and that was why the government was making efforts to block the ECP decision,” she said.
Rejecting an impression that there were any differences in the party, Maryam said: “We will do more for the party together.”
She claimed that even the PTI members no longer liked the PTI and they would not support their party in the Senate elections. She claimed that Imran Khan's performance had affected his vote bank also. “Voting Imran Khan again is equal to supporting a vote thief,” she said adding once Imran Khan had conspired to come to power, there was no chance of it again.
Maryam said the PTI assembly members were also looking for safe passages for themselves and the PTI was facing rebellion in every province. She said that despite rigging, the government could not win the Daska election.
She said the Daska’s constituency told the whole truth how the PTI stole elections in 2018. “The government is challenging the Election Commission decision of re-election in Daska because they are afraid that the officers involved in rigging will open their mouths and will tell the names of their masters,” she said adding therefore all efforts were being made to stop the decision of the Election Commission.
“Hamza Shahbaz's daughter turned 20 months old but he was serving his sentence,” Maryam said and tweeted that today Hamza Shahbaz will meet his daughter.
Marriyum Aurangzeb, while expressing gratitude on the release of Hamza Shahbaz, congratulated the nation and said that God willing, the nation would also be released soon from the imprisonment of vote thieves.
“Hamza Shahbaz faces Imran Khan's worst political revenge with courage and bravery,” she added.
She said Hamza had become a symbol of resistance against political revenge and NAB-Niazi nexus. “Twenty months have passed but no evidence of any corruption could be found against Hamza Shahbaz,” she said adding NAB-Niazi nexus against Hamza Shahbaz could be remembered in the history as a dark chapter of political revenge.
She said people were suffering from inflation, price-hike, unemployment, high prices of flour, sugar, electricity, gas and medicines while the rulers were looting them.