LAHORE/ISLAMABAD   -   PML-N has decided to forcefully protest the arrest of party president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, both inside and outside the parliament.

It however has decided to keep their protest peaceful and within the legal ambit, and use all legal channels for the earliest release of former Punjab chief minister.

Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, a son of Shehbaz and Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly, chaired a meeting of the party leadership at PML-N Model Town Secretariat yesterday and discussed the situation emerging from the sudden development.

The meeting, also attended by the party’s legal team, received input from the participants on the future line of action and decided to strongly protest the arrest of their top leader, said party sources. The meeting decided to also take other opposition parties into confidence on the matter.

The meeting rejected the arrest calling it illegal as, according to them, the Opposition Leader was taken into custody without following the prescribed procedure and without prior permission from the National Assembly speaker – a legal prerequisite for arresting any member of the assembly.

Hamza also discussed the situation with party Quaid and his uncle, Nawaz Sharif, who directed him to requisition the National Assembly session and seek Shehbaz Sharif’s production order through the speaker.

Another requisition has also been made to call the Punjab Assembly session.

Later talking to media, Hamza alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was acting in league with the NAB to politically corner the PML-N. “It is not the way to run a government.”

He said it is inconceivable that arrest of former CM has been made on the statement of an in-custody person. “We strongly condemn this action.”

The PTI government, he said, stays on thin support of members and the arrest of Shehbaz aims at getting more seats in the upcoming by-elections to protect the government.

"Imran Niazi Sahib... we will not let you digest the arrest of the person who served this province day and night," he said, addressing the premier.

He accused the prime minister of going on a witch-hunt against the Sharif family, saying Khan could not hide his "government formed through rigging" behind these arrests. "Those whose conscience is clear do not fear the bars of a prison," he said.

Hamza vowed to continue chasing the PTI government on the question of election rigging and seek probe by a parliamentary commission into the same.

The PML-N leader questioned why NAB was not taking action against PTI leader Babar Awan in Nandipur power plant case, Punjab Assembly Speaker Ch Pervez Elahi in Bank of Punjab scam, senior Minister Aleem Khan in the land grabbing case, and [Imran Khan] Niazi Sahib for illegal use of helicopter.

He said the PTI has appointed such a person as Punjab chief minister who has been involved in a murder case and he saved his skin by paying diyat [compensation for murder].

Shehbaz has been taken into custody in a case which did not cause loss of even a single penny to the national kitty and the contract awarded to Chaudhry Latif (on which the arrest has been based) was cancelled on the findings of the PLDC.

He said Larif Ch saved his skin from NAB by paying 10 times more through the plea-bargain, but later he was awarded Rs71 billion Peshawar Metro contract wherein he turned Peshawar city into debris.

“Why does not NAB arrest Ch Latif who also figures in Nandipur case,” he asked. Shehbaz Sharif on the other hand had saved Rs160 billion in the power and other development projects, he continued.

 

SHARIFS VICTIMISATION CAN’T SPLIT PARTY: MARRIYUM

 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Friday said that victimisation of Sharif family cannot split the party.

Speaking at a news conference in Islamabad, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the PTI cannot compete with the PML-N in the polls and was trying to use negative tactics to malign the party.

“Neither a minus-one could occur, nor they were able to split the PML-N, which is why the Sharif family is being targeted,” she claimed, adding the family was being victimised in the name of accountability.

Marriyum said Shehbaz Sharif was summoned in connection with Punjab Saaf Pani Company case, but NAB arrested him in Ashiana case. She reminded that the previous government of Punjab led by Shehbaz Sharif had itself pointed out corruption in the Ashiana case.

She said the arrest of PML-N president only 10 days ahead of by-elections in the country was an attempt to influence the polls. Marriyum said the party leaders will finalise a future strategy soon.

This is worst sort of vindictiveness by the rulers who are doing all this after their failed to break the party and create a forward bloc out of it, she said.

She said the arrest was not only a violation of the law but also an ignominy of the country at the international level. The arrest, she said, demonstrates how much the PTI government is scared of the PML-N when it was going to rout its candidates in the by-elections.

The spokesperson said it was pity that a person who served the country so dedicatedly and selflessly has been put behind the bars without any proof.

She said Ashiana Housing Scheme, which has been made basis of Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest, was a private-public partnership in which he did not play any role as chief minister.

Marriyum said the party was closely watching the situation and would act accordingly. She said the party workers are very furious on this development but the leadership has advised them to be patient. Any move to resent the arrest will be peaceful and within the norms of law, she added.

 

 

PML-N to fight  arrest on all fronts

 

 

SAJID ZIA & SHAFQAT ALI