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RAWALPINDI: PML-N leaders and relatives of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, visited Adiala jail on Thursday, but Sharif’s younger brother Shahbaz Sharif was not among them even though his name was on the visitors’ list.

According to PML-N leaders, Mr Sharif was in Islamabad but did not visit Adiala. The party has not issued an official statement on why Mr Sharif did not visit the prison.

PML-N leader Ispantar Bhandara was not allowed to visit Sharif by jail authorities because his name was not on the list.

The meeting was held in the conference room by the office of the jail superintendent. Police, jail employees and law enforcement personnel had heightened security in and around the prison to prevent and untoward incident; motorists and the public were not allowed to use the road in frot of the prison during the visit.

Relatives, party members and former members visited the jail to meet Sharif and Maryam. They were only allowed to enter the jail from Gate no.5 after thorough checking by jail employees, headed by Deputy Superintendent Mohammad Imran.

Sharif’s nephews Asif Mehmood and Aziz Abbas Sharif, Aziz Abbas’ wife, Maryam’s daughter Meharun Nisa and her husband Rahil Munir, retired Capt Mohammad Safdar’s brother Sajjad Awan and Sharif’s cousin Aftab were among the family members who visited the prison.

Former Punjab governor Raffique Rajwana, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Chaudhry Tanvir Ali Khan, former minister Talal Chaudhry, MNA Maiza Hameed, former minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Tahira Aurangzeb, former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, former chief minister Pir Sabir Shah, former MNA Malik Shakil Awan, Barrister Danial Chaudhry, MNA Khurram Dastgir Khan, Mushahidullah Khan, Tehmina Doltana and others also met with Sharif.

Speaking to the press outside Adiala jail, Ms Hameed criticised the government and jail authorities for moving Sharif to the accountability court in an armoured vehicle.

“This is extremely unfair because Nawaz Sharif was the one who himself surrendered before the law enforcement agencies and nobody arrested him from abroad,” she said, but added that despite all the humiliation, the morale of the Sharifs and the party members was high.

“Maryam Nawaz and Mian Nawaz Sharif are in good health in the jail. Their spirit is high,” said Tehmina Doltana.

In response to a question she said she had not seen Sharif or Maryam’s cells and could not comment on whether they were being provided facilities by the jail authorities.

To another question she said Sharif did not comment on PTI chairman and prime minister in-waiting Imran Khan “during the meeting with us”. She added that her election was rigged and she would go for a recount.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2018