LAHORE - PML-N President Mian Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday bitterly criticised what he called political victimisation being carried out in the name of accountability, urging the NAB chairman not to play into the hands of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The PML-N is being targeted; most of those in jails belong either to the PML-N or the PPP, he said at a news conference at the party’s Model Town office after meeting his incarcerated elder brother Nawaz Sharif at Kot Lakhpat Jail. Maryam Nawaz also accompanied him to jail for the weekly meeting.

Before this news conference, NAB had arrested PML-N senior vice president and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in LNG case near Lahore and taken him to Islamabad for further proceedings.

A three-time former Punjab chief minister dealt with a number of subjects and warned the prime minister that what he was doing with the PML-N leadership would cost him heavily.

Alleging that the PTI and the NAB were hand-in-hand with each other and it was for this reason that the anti-corruption institution was not proceedings against ruling party leader despite the fact that corruption cases involving billions of rupees were pending against them.

Refuting the allegation of ERRA funds embezzlement, he said even the British government had denied what a London newspaper had published on the subject. He said the newspaper had been censured many a times because of its (irresponsible) reporting and that the credibility of the journalist who had leveled allegations on him could be checked with Google.

He likened the allegation to an atomic attack on him and said he would take the paper to court. He said he would face any punishment in case the allegation is proved in his lifetime. In case he was not there in the world, he could be posthumously punished like Cromwell, he said.

The former chief minister argued that had the earthquake funds misuse allegation been valid, the government would not have implicated him in Ashiana Housing Society and a drain cases and would have arrested him immediately.

He said it was him who had proceeded against Naveed Ikram, the main character named in funds’ embezzlement case. He said it was his government that got arrested this man and also wrote a letter to the then federal government for action against him.

Referring to governance of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said he had left even Hitler and Mussolini behind in fascism. “However, you will never be able to make us capitulate”.

The Sharifs, he recalled, had faced tough times in the past but survived. This time would also be over soon, he predicted.

Condemning the arrest of former prime minister Abbasi, the PML-N president said it was just because he was a committed colleague of Mian Nawaz Sharif. Before this, he said, Rana Sanaullah had also been arrested for the same reason. He said had Mr Abbasi not struck the LNG deal, the country would still have been gas load shedding.

Ridiculing policies of the PTI government, Shehbaz said they had made the life of the common man miserable. Despite 40 per cent devaluation of rupee exports were not picking up and foreign investors were not willing to invest in Pakistan. Flight of capital was taking place just like it was going on in 1972 when the then government had nationalised all industries.

Referring to the case against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N president said the entire world was waiting for the apex court’s verdict. “I believe he will soon be out of prison”.

He claimed that the PML-N leadership had no information about traders’ strike. According to him, it was traders’ and businessmen’s own initiative against worst policies of the government.

Earlier, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal condemned arrest of Mr Abbasi, alleging that most corrupt people had taken PTI’s shelter.

He was critical of the role of various state institutions and said they were now working as organs of the ruling party.

He said all those who had served the country were facing NAB. Referring to difficult time the PML-N was passing through at present, he said, it would ultimately be over but his party’s role would be remembered in history.

Former information minister Marriyum Auragzeb was also critical of Mr Abbasi’s arrest.