FIR registered against Maryam, PML-N workers for clash outside NAB Lahore office

Published August 12, 2020
The FIR stated that instead of appearing for her hearing, Maryam "incited PML-N workers at the behest of her husband Safdar Awan". — DawnNewsTV
The FIR stated that instead of appearing for her hearing, Maryam "incited PML-N workers at the behest of her husband Safdar Awan". — DawnNewsTV

A first information report (FIR) was registered on Wednesday against PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz Sharif and party workers over Tuesday's clash outside the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office in Lahore.

A day earlier, after Maryam arrived for a hearing in a case pertaining to "illegal" acquisition of land, violence erupted outside the anti-graft watchdog's office as heavy police contingents and workers of the PML-N clashed.

Many people, including some officials, were injured and around 50 men were rounded up after police fired tear gas besides hurling back stones at the activists, with each side blaming the other for triggering the clash.

Mariam claimed the government had planned to “cause harm” to her through police action, while posting a video of her bulletproof car’s broken windshield on her Twitter account.

The FIR, which was filed by NAB's Director of Security and Intelligence Mohammad Asghar at the Chung police station, stated that Maryam had been called to the bureau's Lahore office in a "personal capacity". But instead of merely appearing for the hearing, the FIR alleged she "incited PML-N workers at the behest of her husband Safdar Awan".

"The workers then started displaying thuggery — pelting stones and creating disorder." Besides Maryam and her husband, the FIR also named multiple PML-N leaders including Rana Sanaullah, Mirza Javed, Javed Latif, Mian Abdul Raouf and 184 other supporters. It also pointed to the involvement of another 300 unnamed workers who the security team "would be able to identify from the pictures and video footage".

The FIR also identified different vehicles that came to the NAB office as part of Maryam's caravan.

"This is the first time in NAB's 20-year history that this level of horrendous attitude has been shown in which the day to day office operations of the organisation have been destroyed and the state's work has been interfered with," it said.

"This evil act was done by Mariam Safdar and her husband Safdar Awan after proper planning and coordination with the PML-N workers. They also brought stones in their cars from Jati Umra," the FIR stated, adding that MPA Mirza Javed and his son had also come to the NAB office with bags of stones in their car.

The FIR also alleged that the workers had organised an "unlawful assembly on Maryam's instigation" and were told to disperse by the police. "The PML-N workers under their leadership's guidance also pelted stones at the police officials."

The NAB official also stated in the FIR that the movement of the accountability body's employees and passers-by was "restricted" and fear and chaos was created, adding that the building's glass was also broken by throwing stones.

He requested the police to "start action against them according to the law".

The FIR was registered under section 147 (punishment for rioting), section 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), section 290 (punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for), section 291 (continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue), section 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt), section 109 (punishment of abetment), section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and section 86 (offence requiring a particular intent or knowledge committed by one who is intoxicated) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Court rejects petition for physical remand of held PML-N workers

Meanwhile, a Lahore district court on Wednesday rejected a petition by the investigating officer for granting an eight-day physical remand of more than 50 PML-N workers and activists who were held after Tuesday's clashes.

Judicial Magistrate Hafiz Nafees Yousuf heard the case. Advocate for the PML-N workers Farhad Ali Shah said that they were citizens of the country and could go wherever they wanted according to the rights granted by the Constitution.

"The police inflicted torture on them," he said, adding that six of the sections under which the case was registered were bailable offences and section 440 was "not applicable".

He added that none of the workers had any weapons and the police "beat whoever they wanted".

The court sent all the accused to a 14-day judicial remand. However, all those held filed a petition for bail, arguing that they were implicated in a "false and baseless" case.

"The accused have no connection to the incident. The police made the PML-N workers a target for torture," the petition read.

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