LAHORE, Oct 05: A case has been registered against PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and other party leaders at the Shahdara police station for ‘conspiring’ against the country and state institutions.
The case was registered by a citizen, Badar Rasheed, under Section 10 (cyberterrorism) of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (2016), and sections 120-A (definition of criminal conspiracy), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war against Pakistan), 123-A (condemning the creation of the country and advocating the abolishment of its sovereignty), 124-A (sedition) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The FIR also names party leaders Maryam Nawaz, Rana Sanaullah, Ahsan Iqbal, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pervez Rashid, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Ataullah Tarar and others that participated in the PML-N’s Central Executive Committee and Central Working Committee meetings held last week.
The complainant states that Nawaz has several corruption cases against him that are currently under trial in the courts. “Instead of availing medical treatment in London, Nawaz is carrying out a planned conspiracy to defame the country and its institutions by making inflammatory speeches,” says the FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.
It alleges that in the speeches made on September 20 and October 1, the former premier supported the policies of neighbouring India, so that Pakistan would continue to remain on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ‘grey list’.
“The main purpose of Nawaz’s speeches is to isolate Pakistan in front of the international community and to declare it a rogue state,” the complaint says. It adds that Nawaz is trying to turn the people against the democratically elected government.
The aim of the speeches is also to divert attention from human rights violations in occupied Kashmir to benefit Nawaz’s “friend” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the complainant says.
PML-N leader Zafar Iqbal issued a statement condemning the registration of the case. “Registering treason cases against politicians cannot hide the ineptitude of the government. Instead of addressing unemployment, inflation and poverty, the government is using state machinery to suppress the opposition.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, PML-N spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the registration of the case was proof of the fact that the “selected” government was “panicking”.
“Voices fighting for the truth and for the rights [of the people] can’t be suppressed by such false and baseless cases.” She added that political opponents, the media, and those fighting for human rights and democracy were now being labelled as “traitors”.
While speaking to reporters, PML-N leader and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the FIR was “another black mark in the fictional history books of Pakistan”, adding that it had a “unique position among allegations of treason” in the history of the country.
“I request the federal ministers not to take support of Badar Rasheed and get FIRs registered with [their] own names so people can see [their] reality,” he said.
Abbasi said that such “black tactics” would not work and time had come for the government to show its performance. “The traitor is the one who destroys the economy and barters Kashmir. No minister has talked of inflation, sugar, wheat, unemployment and corruption. We are here. If you have courage, then arrest us and pursue cases [against us].”
PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal said that the government’s “incompetency” could not be hidden by declaring PML-N leaders as traitors. He said the FIR claimed that PML-N wanted to build a narrative against institutions to detract attention from the Kashmir issue but in fact, the party questioned the government about “what happened in naya Pakistan that India got the courage to revoke the territory’s disputed status”.