ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has questioned long detention of its senior members by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) during the period of inquiry against them on various charges and termed it part of the government’s policy of political victimisation.
In a statement here on Saturday, PML-N’s Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb stated that all of these people had been under custody for months despite the fact NAB had not come up with any charge of misappropriation of the national exchequer against them.
She also issued a list of nearly a dozen people who had been arrested since the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government assumed power in August last year with the period they had already spent behind bars.
Marriyum Aurangzeb says they are under trial without any evidence of corruption
The list includes the names of Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique, former finance minister Miftah Ismail, Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, MNA from Faisalabad Rana Sanaullah and former minister Kamran Michael.
She alleged that all these party leaders were under trial without any evidence of corruption. “None of them has been accused of corruption in public money,” she said.
“NAB’s bewildering allegation on Maryam Nawaz questions as why Maryam Nawaz’s grandfather had given her rightful share from ancestral property. After being held on such fictitious charges for four months, she has now been behind bars for over two months,” she said.
Similarly, she said Khawaja Saad Rafique, who she said had brought Pakistan Railways back from the dead, had been imprisoned over private business transactions for nearly a year.
Hamza Shahbaz has been locked up for five months without a dime of proven corruption.
Ms Aurangzeb said Khawaja Salman Rafique, who rid the Punjab of the dangerous dengue and transformed the healthcare of the province, had been thrown behind bars for over a year over private business.
Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan, she said, had been forced into jail over charges of abuse of power while there was not a single charge of corruption against him and he had already spent over 90 days in prison.
She claimed that MNA from Faisalabad Rana Sanaullah was held in the “most blatant and ridiculous act of political victimisation”.
“Even after failure to produce any evidence against Sanaullah, he is being held prisoner for over 100 days,” she said.
“Miftah Ismail has been imprisoned without even an established accusation,” she went on saying.
Ms Aurangzeb said the greatest sin of Yousaf Abbas was that he was related to Nawaz Sharif and despite not holding any public office ever, “he too is a victim of this vengeance and prejudice fuelled political victimisation”.
She said Fawad Hassan Fawad and Ahad Cheema, the two bureaucrats, were being grilled only because they refused to become false approvers against Shahbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif. She said situation was being faced by Imranul Haq, who had rejected the same option against Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
She also criticised the tactics of denying food, bedding, and legal rights to the imprisoned democrats and said the frustration and desperation of failures of the “fascist and autocratic PTI” had driven them insane.
“Such tactics cannot and will not break the spirits of the PML-N leaders nor will they silence the opposition from exposing the disastrous PTI rule,” she declared.
Ms Aurangzeb said all these “companions of Nawaz Sharif” were suffering behind bars without even a proper allegation of corruption in the exchequer.
“All these individuals are being punished only for their unrelenting support for Nawaz Sharif and their untiring service for the people of Pakistan,” she said, adding: “Today all these dedicated public servers are prisoners of their principles.”
The PML-N leader said despite being the custodian of country’s treasury thrice as the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif had not been found guilty of a single dime of corruption in public money, yet he had been languishing in jail for a whole year.
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2019