LAHORE, Sep 28: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz has said the PML-N president had been arrested because he did not choose to betray his brother, Nawaz Sharif.
addressed a press conference on Monday shortly after opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest, saying that he had been put in cuffs because of his loyalty towards former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. “This movement will not suffer a setback due to Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest,” she said, adding that it will only add fuel to fire.
Reacting to Shehbaz’s arrest as “extremely unfortunate”, Maryam said that she had no doubt the PML-N president had been arrested because he did not choose to betray his brother, Nawaz Sharif.
Shehbaz Sharif not only stood with his brother but his loyalty to his brother’s cause and the party remained unwavered. His wife is made an absconder, his son, my brother Hamza, has been sent to jail and no case has been proven against him.
“During the last week, Shehbaz gave two to three statements saying that if they want to arrest him, they can but [the party] will implement 100% the directives given in Nawaz Sharif’s APC speech,” she said.
Maryam said that Shehbaz had not been arrested over any allegations. She questioned the accountability and justice system in Pakistan. “If there is any semblance of justice in Pakistan, then instead of Shehbaz Sharif, Asim Saleem Bajwa should be arrested,” she said. “Shehbaz Sharif does not own 99 companies nor hundreds of franchises. Shehbaz Sharif hails from a business family and his father was a well-known businessman,” she added.
Maryam said that Asim Bajwa should be held accountable as he was a salaried employee, calling on NAB to investigate his case. “NAB says it looks as the case and not the face. Has it not seen this case?” she asked.
The PML-N vice president said that she did not wish to speak more about NAB as its credibility had already been “completely eroded” by the Supreme Court’s verdict in which it had said that the bureau was involved in political engineering.
She questioned the government for “smuggling out” former PTI general secretary and close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Jahangir Tareen when his name came up in the sugar inquiry commission.
“When his [Jahangir Tareen] son was called to present himself before the JIT, he said that he cannot come as he is looking after his father,” she said.
She criticised NAB for not considering that Hamza Shehbaz was 45 years old and could own his own businesses but on the other hand, Asim Bajwa’s children were not considered dependent on him.
“Look at how the media was pressurised and later, when Asim Bajwa felt the pressure, he gave a clarification. Then the media was told to run Bajwa’s clarification. Everyone, from the media to us were asking about about the news on which the clarification was issued,” she said. “We didn’t know about the news but its clarification came out.”
“Does anyone have the guts to send Asim Saleem Bajwa a notice?” she asked.
Referring to rumours and speculation about a split in the PML-N, Maryam said that the “Noon and the Sheen” were united and will stay united. “Shehbaz Sharif has his own thinking according to which he believes that maybe reconciliation is the better politics. He says this in front of Mian sahab [Nawaz Sharif], the party and in front of all of us. But when Mian sahab’s directives are issued, he is the first one to accept them,” she said.
Referring to the prime minister as a ‘coward’, Maryam said that PM Imran Khan was afraid that Shehbaz would one day be considered a suitable choice to replace him.
“In the eyes of the people, especially in the eyes of the people of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif is the only choice,” she said. “To the institutions that are standing beside Imran Khan, they should know that a man with no experience has been imposed on the people,” she said.
She said that PM Imran was a “foolish friend” and nobody more than him had given a bad name to institutions. “Hence, everyone will have to think about this that the PML-N is the representative of millions in Punjab and outside,” she said. “If Imran Khan will be supported like this, then things will get out of even the PML-N’s hands,” she warned.
Maryam cautioned her opponents, saying that whether the PML-N workers or leaders are arrested, “this movement will not stop”.
Reacting to PM Imran’s statement that he will hold elections the moment opposition parties resign from the parliament, she said that neither can the government hold these elections nor will it be given time to do so.