ISLAMABAD - Although Adiala jail authorities have imposed a “once-a-week” restriction on visitors intending to meet former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, their followers from distant cities and towns of Punjab continue to make a beeline outside the prison to have a glimpse of their incarcerated leaders.

Interestingly, among the visitors, a large number of women associating themselves with Maryam Nawaz instead of party supremo Nawaz Sharif and a couple of women delegations from various cities mainly from Punjab showed up outside the jail with flower wreaths and bouquets to present them to a lady who has further boosted her respect and image in their eyes by bravely landing in the jail and denying to avail special concessions and facilities.

Maryam Nawaz was first introduced in politics when her father was in office as the prime minister and she worked on a project to revamp government schools functioning in and outskirts of the federal capital. Similarly, she also performed the duty of “lady-in-waiting” to assist the first lady of China during her visit to Pakistan and also accomplished some other political tasks including establishing and successfully running the party’s media cell.

But following the conviction of her father in the Panama Papers case, she emerged as a real political leader in the party and earned a widespread admiration and respect from party leaders and activists through her fiery speeches and a strong position she had taken against the forces of status quo. And now she has further elevated her political stature by landing in the jail along with her father and also refusing to take any concession and privileges, she is otherwise entitled to.

A senior PML-N leader said that the rigorous imprisonment —currently the solitary conferment — would polish her to become the real heir of Nawaz Sharif and for her political future both in the party as well as in the national politics.

A woman from Sahiwal, who along with other women wing activists of the party had showed up outside the jail, sharing her views with The Nation said that they were denied a meeting with Maryam Nawaz and the jail authorities were “rude” to them. She said that they placed the flowers they had brought to present to their leader at a police barrier and would come again and again to show their solidarity with the party leaders.

The woman saw a future leader in the person of Maryam Nawaz saying, “This confinement and hardships would further polish her talent as a leader”.

On the other hand, during her sole meeting with party leaders and family members last Thursday, Maryam Nawaz had asked them to get her some books mainly the biographies of Nelson Mandela, the late prime minister Benazir Bhutto and some other international political personalities who had spent time in jail. Officials deputed at the outer security cordon of Adiala jail said that people, mostly women in large numbers, come to meet Maryam Nawaz daily but as the jail authorities have fixed Thursday for the meeting with the Sharifs, they had to return without a get-together with their incarcerated leaders.

As per the jail manual, the jail superintendent could allow visitors to meet the inmate other than the meeting day fixed for visitors, but in the case of Sharif and his daughter, there were strict restrictions and directions from the high-ups to strictly follow the set schedule.

A security official said that they were not allowing the visitors to place flower wreaths and bouquets at a particular place. Sometimes, the visitors place the flowers at gate No-5 fixed for Sharif’s visitors when they refused to take them with a promise to deliver them to Maryam Nawaz, he said.

He further said that every day, they have to clean up the places where the visitors place flowers for their leaders and “this exercise is mounting by each passing day”.