LAHORE - Speaking in the context of PML-N president Mian Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest by the National Accountability Bureau, party’ Vice-president Maryam Nawaz Sharif  Thursday said that Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif would now be leading the party from London.

She also dared the government to arrest her saying that she was not afraid of her possible arrest. “If you want to arrest me, you can; I am not afraid of the arrest. I would not even seek a pre-arrest bail”, she averred while talking to reporters after the party’s CWC meeting held at Model Town here.  

Maryam said that anticipated arrests of other party leaders would not be beneficial for the government since there was a long line of party leadership to lead the party in any difficult situation.

 “If I am arrested, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will lead the party. If he is arrested too, then Rana Sana Ullah would assume the leadership role. And after him, Parvez Rashid, Ahsan Iqbal, Kh Saad Rafique and Maryam Aurangzeb are there to play the same role”, she remarked.

Interestingly, while she mentioned the names of leaders who might be arrested, she forgot to enlist Makhdum Javed Hashmi sitting next to her during the press briefing. Mr Hashmi moaned, in a lighter vein though, about the exclusion of his name from the list. To this, Maryam smiling said, “ It is because I dont want you to be arrested”. Mr Hashmi responded with a smile. Also, Maryam Nawaz conveniently forgot to mention Khawaja Asif as the leader who may lead the party if the first line of party leadership is arrested. This raised many eyebrows in the political circles since the top party leadership is not happy with Khawaja Asif’s recent statement about the PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.

While replying to a question, Maryam also distanced herself from Asif’s statement being not reflective of party policy. She said that Mian Nawaz Sharif had already spoken on the matter. She explained that though the PPP and the PML-N were rival political parties but they were one against the present regime. “We will take on the PPP in the coming electoral battles while remaining within limits of decency”, she said.

Maryam also predicted the government’s fall even before the planned long march by the opposition parties in January next year. 

Maryam believed the incumbent government was too weak to complete its tenure. “Just one push is enough to send the present regime packing,” she affirmed. Maryam also dubbed PM Imran Khan a “weak” and “inept person” who was incapable of running the affairs and asking the institutions to do the job instead. Addressing the PM Imran, she said: “ The time is not far off when even the institutions will tell you to fight your cases yourself”, she said and added: “That time has come now.”

Answering a question, she ruled out the possibility of any dialogue with the government saying that she did not recognise the present set up led by a fake prime minister. “We should have outrightly rejected this regime from day one. However, it’s never too late,” she said.