'Who gave you the right to judge statements?': Maryam hits back at NAB before LHC hearing

Published March 15, 2021
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz speaks to the media in Lahore on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz speaks to the media in Lahore on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Monday lashed out at the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for making an issue about her statements and questioned who gave the accountability watchdog the right to judge her statements.

She was speaking to the media at her Jati Umra residence in Lahore, before a hearing in the Lahore High Court on a NAB petition for cancellation of her bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case.

"Who gave you the right to judge statements? Your job was to supposedly stop corruption. Now that you've failed in that, you have changed your responsibilities?"

She said the various institutions such as the army and the courts had their own spokespersons so who had appointed NAB as the spokesperson.

"Who are they to find responsibilities for themselves about who is issuing what statements?"

Maryam railed against NAB and claimed that the institution did not know the boundaries of its own authority, adding that a case should be registered against it.

She alleged that NAB had uttered a "great lie" about her not cooperating or obstructing the investigation in the money laundering charges against her in the CSM case.

She said she had presented herself at the NAB office for her hearing but the institution itself resorted to delaying tactics and did not attend to her.

"For three months on the pretext of investigations you kept me in NAB and what did you do?" said Maryam, adding that nothing but trivial and unrelated questions had been asked of her.

She claimed NAB had still not been able to successfully register a reference against her over the charges she had been arrested for.

"In front of me, the judge in the court asked them many times that where is your reference? They looked here and there [but had no answer]. If a reference was merited then they would have made it."

Maryam said the arrest threat was nothing more than an attempt to deflate the growing momentum of the PML-N's opposition against the government and "save their own sinking ship".

"I am a Pakistani citizen, the Constitution and the law give me the right" to make political statements and call out the shortcomings of the government, Maryam said.

"What is a politician supposed to do if not represent the nation?" she asked.

"If you think that you will be able to scare Maryam Nawaz by threats of jail and bail cancellation then this will never happen [...] Maryam Nawaz has returned after serving baseless jail terms twice, I will serve it a third time too."

NAB had submitted a petition with the LHC for Maryam's bail cancellation in the CSM case.

The petition claimed that Maryam had been making statements against state institutions since her bail and tarnishing their image.

The petition was roundly condemned by PML-N leaders who said it was nothing more than an effort to "gag" Maryam.

Maryam was arrested by NAB in the CSM case in August 2019. The accountability watchdog suspects her of involvement in money laundering through investments of variable heavy amounts as one of the main shareholders of the mills.

She was later released on bail in November 2019 by a two-member LHC bench, comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem, against two surety bonds worth Rs10 million each, and an additional Rs70m as well as surrendering her passport.



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