LAHORE - PMLN Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal has said at a time when coronavirus was surging in the country, Imran Khan was focusing on his NAB led political victimisation as if it was a vaccine for coronavirus.

Speaking at a press conference at PMLN Secretariat Lahore flanked by Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Pervez Malik and other senior MNAs from Lahore, he said considering the partisan activities, persecution of the opposition and protection of corrupt government, the NAB Chairman should formally join the PTI cabinet. He said the notices sent to Shehbaz Sharif, Rana Sanaullah and Baleeghurrahman showed the depths to which this NAB Chairman had stooped as an instrument of PTI’s political victimisation. He slammed the imprisonment of Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz without any charges framed against him.

Ahsan said that the government could not devise an effective strategy to fight coronavirus in over three months and has left the people at the mercy of the fatal virus. He said that this PTI government had itself hollowed the core of Pakistan’s economy like a virus and had devoid its youth of a future.

He said instead of severing ties with India at a time when it was butchering Kashmiris under lockdown, the government made hundreds of millions through non life-saving medicines import from India.

Khawaja Saad Rafiq condemned NAB Multan’s notices to PMLN Leader and said it was nothing but political victimisation. He said after witnessing the consequences of persecuting PMLN leaders, NAB should have learned that no PMLN Leader would change their loyalty by oppressive tactics which were based on fictitious cases.

If this was an accountability drive, why the NAB was not equally vigilant over the sugar and wheat theft case, Mallam Jabba case, Foreign Funding Case, Peshawar BRT and other misappropriations. Saad said that the premature lifting of lockdown when the cases in the country were surging was extremely dangerous by the government. He said the government should consult with representative organisations of doctors and should reconsider its decision.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that the PMLN was in no negotiations with the government over reformation of NAB. He said the government was giving a false impression as if it was in talks with PMLN over NAB law and the 18th ammendment, which was a total lie. Ayaz said the nature of the NAB law was such that there was no right way to reform this law which was why it needed to be scrapped and a new law needed to be introduced.

Ayaz said that the judiciary needed to be reminded that there were a number of others in the Panama papers that the judges had to hold accountable. But the buck somehow stopped at Nawaz Sharif and all others were conveniently ignored, the former speaker of national assembly said.

Pervez Malik said NAB was not only a tool of political victimisation but was also destroying institutions which were truly responsible for accountability like the media. He condemned the persecution and arrest of Jang Group Head Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman.

Malik said the government had lifted restrictions at the worst possible time of the coronavirus outbreak and it must come up with stringent and carefully thought out strategy otherwise this would lead to a total collapse of the healthcare system and unimaginable deaths. PMLN Secretary lnformation Marriyum Aurangzeb, while demanding immediate release of Hamza Shehbaz, has said that he is being subjected to the worst possible political victimisation.

In a statement Marriyum said, the sugar and wheat robbers had kept Hamza behind the bars to hide their criminal acts. She said the legal action should be taken against the NAB Chairman for the illegal abduction and imprisonment of Hamza Shehbaz.

She said Hamza was in jail for over a year now without a single reference against him. She said Hamza had appeared before the court over 50 times in false cases of money laundering where the NAB could not present a single witness or evidence. Not a single penny of corruption or embezzlement had been recovered, yet Hamza faced persecution , she lambasted. This is the worst form travesty of justice and tyranny, she said.