LAHORE: As the PML-N on Monday sought at least a two-week parole for its president Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza to participate in the last rites of his (Shehbaz’s) mother, the deputy commissioner’s office said they could be released ‘only for 12 hours’.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif’s mother Begum Shamim Akhtar had died in London on Sunday. She was in her 90s.
Arrangements are being made to bring her dead body back to Lahore within a couple of days to be buried next to the grave of her husband Mian Sharif at the Sharif family’s Jati Umra estate.
In an application to Lahore DC, PML-N deputy secretary general Attaullah Tarar said both Shehbaz and Hamza were the opposition leaders in the national and Punjab assemblies, respectively.
He sought the PML-N leaders’ release on parole for a period of at least two weeks to receive condolences and participate in Ms Akhtar’s last rites at their Model Town and Jati Umra residences.
PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Auranzgeb also demanded immediate release of Shehbaz and Hamza on parole.
DC office can allow release only for 12 hours
“Social values and common courtesy merit that Shehbaz and Hamza be immediately released on parole. There is no greater loss than the death of one’s mother. The emotional state of Shehbaz Sharif and his family should be taken into consideration,” she said and added that a reference had been filed against Shehbaz nd trial was under way.
“He is being detained without even corruption worth a penny being proven against him,” she lamented.
Both Shehbaz and Hamza are in Kot Lakhpat jail on judicial remand in a money laundering and assets beyond means case.
The Lahore DC office said it had received the PML-N’s application but it did not confirm when the body of Shehbaz Sharif’s mother would land in Lahore.
Deputy Commissioner Mudassar Riaz Malik told Dawn that his office could allow release of prisoners for 12 hours and that would only be possible when the exact timing of the arrival of the body was known.
He said that his office had already contacted the police and jail officials for their report on the subject.
“The deputy commissioner office can release prisoner(s) for 12 hours in ordinary circumstances, while it is the prerogative of the provincial government to release prisoner(s) for more than 12 hours in extraordinary circumstances,” Mr Malik said.
Sources say the PML-N’s application in this regard has yet not been received by the Punjab home department.
On Monday, a number of PML-N leaders arrived at the party’s Model Town secretariat and attended the Quran Khwani held for the departed soul.
Talking to reporters, PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanaullah said the Sharif brothers lost their mother at a moment when the family was facing the “worst political vendetta” at the hands of the Imran Khan government.
“The PTI government lacks human values, otherwise, it might have released Shehbaz and Hamza on parole by now,” he said.
Sanaullah said because of the death the party’s Depalpur rally had been cancelled, however, the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s Nov 30 public meeting in Multan would be held as per schedule.
He said the government was “taking cover” of Covid-19 to stop the PDM rallies, but it would not happen.
“The government is propagating the coronavirus spread, as it was afraid of the opposition’s protest rallies,” he said.
About Gilgit Baltistan election commissioner, Mr Sanaullah alleged that the EC would daily visit some minister’s house and when the opposition protested, he held a press conference that added fuel to the fire.
He said the government was surviving with the support of crutches and “the crutches” should be removed now. All institutions should work under the ambit of the Constitution, he demanded.
To a question about the return of Nawaz Sharif, Attaullah Tarar said doctors in London had advised him against travelling.
Meanwhile PML-N leader Khwaja Asif visited Jati Umra and condoled the death of Begum Akhtar with party vice president Maryam Nawaz.
He said there might be a delay in bringing back the dead body because of the procedural requirements in the UK. He said the PDM would not cancel its rallies which would be held according to the schedule.
Party Senator Pervaiz Rashid said such an environment had been created in the country that the people could not even attend the last rites of their loved one. Nawaz Sharif was in exile when his father was laid to rest in Jati Umra, he recalled.
Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2020