PML-N activists run amok

Party workers clash with riot police forcing NAB to put off Maryam Nawaz’s hearing

Our Correspondent August 11, 2020
Maryam Nawaz. PHOTO: FILE


The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday was unable to record the statement of PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz in an illegal land requisition case as her party workers ran berserk and clashed with riot police in an attempt to force their way into the office of the national graft buster in Lahore.

Television channels showed chaotic scenes outside the NAB office as Maryam, daughter of former premier Nawaz Sharif, drove in accompanied by hundreds of PML-N activists and supporters in vehicles and on foot.

The situation turned ugly when some activists in the PML-N caravan pelted stones at police, who responded by using batons, water cannons and tear gas on the rioters.

Videos making the round on social media and aired by TV channels showed vehicles of PML-N activists loaded with sacks full of stones which, according to government ministers, indicate the rioting was not spontaneous – a charge the opposition party denies.

As soon as Maryam’s motorcade arrived, PML-N workers broke down the barricades in an attempt to storm their way into the NAB office, damaged public property and threw stones at the riot police deployed there.

The government ministers say the “attack on the NAB office” was reminiscent of the storming of Supreme Court building in 1997 by the supporters of Nawaz Sharif.

 The riot police fired tear gas canisters and used batons and water cannons to disperse the violent activists. According to the PML-N spokesperson, the police rounded up around 50 party workers during the melee.

Amid the rioting, Maryam, who was accompanied by her husband Captain (retd) Safdar and other party leaders Rana Sanaullah, Pervez Rashid and Talal Chaudhry at the time, shared a video of her vehicle’s broken windshield on social media, alleging that the police were responsible for it.

Ironically, Maryam sought to shift the blame for the rioting by posting a video clip on Twitter purportedly showing policemen throwing stones at her vehicle. She condemned the use of tear gas and batons on what she called “peaceful party activists” who were there to “express solidarity” with her.

In a statement, NAB said it was forced to postpone the hearing because of the “hooliganism” of PML-N activists.

“[NAB] Lahore had issued the call-up notice to Maryam Nawaz to record her statement in her personal capacity,” the statement read. “However, she did not appear and [the] miscreants of PML-N pelted stones at the NAB office and resorted to hooliganism.”

NAB further said this kind of behaviour was unprecedented in the anti-graft body’s 20-year history.

“The PML-N activists smashed the windows of NAB's Lahore office, besides injuring the staff. That hooliganism forced NAB to suspend Maryam Nawaz's appearance.”

The anti-corruption body said it had decided to probe into incident in detail with the help of social media videos and footage of TV channels. “It was well-planned attack on the NAB office by PML-N and other anti-social elements,” the statement read.”

NAB has decided to register an FIR against PML-N office-bearers and activists over charges of interference with public duties.” NAB said the purpose of issuing the call-up notice was to provide Maryam with an opportunity to explain her point out of view in a case as per law.




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