FIA raids PML-N secretariat in Lahore, 'confiscates' material from multimedia cell

Updated December 26, 2019

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Ataullah Tarar, deputy secretary general of PML-N, speaks to the media. — DawnNewsTV
Ataullah Tarar, deputy secretary general of PML-N, speaks to the media. — DawnNewsTV

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday raided the PML-N's party secretariat in Lahore, according to Ataullah Tarar, deputy secretary general of the party.

A four-member FIA team, including a female officer, had conducted the raid, Tarar said, adding that the officials were allowed inside after they showed warrants. He said that the party had no prior information about the raid.

Tarar revealed that the raid was conducted to confiscate material related to a press conference conducted by PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz.

In July, Maryam had held a press conference where she played a secretly recorded video in which former accountability judge Arshad Malik was allegedly seen saying that he was pressured into convicting former premier Nawaz Sharif in the Al Azizia corruption reference. Malik was removed by the Islamabad High Court and was repatriated to the Lahore High Court, where an inquiry would be held into the accusations against the judge.

The FIA is yet to release a statement on the matter.

The PML-N, meanwhile, has decided to file a first information report against FIA Chief Wajid Zia, party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said. A protest rally will also be held by the party tomorrow.

Talking to the media after the raid today, Tarar said that the government had been provided with the "original video" by Nasir Butt, the man in whom Malik had allegedly confided, but no forensic examination had been carried out. "Now you can examine the material you (FIA) have confiscated today," he said.

The PML-N office-bearer insisted that the raid was part of "revenge tactics" by the government.

"Even the Supreme Court said that Arshad Malik had disgraced the judiciary [...] How much has he been interrogated that now raids are being conducted at our party secretariat and we are being issued notices?" he asked.

"Nasir Butt went to the Pakistani High Commission in London, not once but many times, to submit the original video. But the high commission had directions from Imran Ahmed Niazi and the government not to receive the video," Tarar alleged.

He said that the government had interfered in judge Malik's removal as well, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to "spread confusion".

"He (prime minister) wants to lock up his political opponents through revenge tactics. We will not let this happen," the PML-N leader said.

Tarar said that the "circumstances" in which former FIA chief Bashir Memon had retired showed that "he had refused to obey Imran Ahmed Niazi's illegal directions and was punished for it", after which Wajid Zia was appointed to the position.

Govt using FIA to exert pressure

In a strong reaction, Aurangzeb said that the raid has "proved that judge Arshad Malik's video is real".

"It has also been proved that [Malik] convicted Nawaz Sharif due to pressure.

"Now that they can't find evidence in false corruption cases, they are using the FIA to pressurise [opponents]," she said and added: "The government is letting out its anger on judiciary's decisions by conducting raids on PML-N secretariat without reason."

"It is regrettable that even the offices of political opponents are being raided in order to exact political revenge."