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Outrage over Maryam's arrest, Bilawal walks out of assembly session

IANS/Islamabad
Filed on August 8, 2019 | Last updated on August 8, 2019 at 09.02 pm
pakistan, maryam nawaz sharif, nab, imran khan, corruption

(File)

She was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau

The arrest of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter and PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz sparked outrage in the National Assembly in Pakistan on Thursday.

Maryam was detained by Pakistan's anti-corruption watchdog on Thursday while she was on her way back after visiting her father in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. Her cousin Yousaf Abbas was also arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

In a press release, the NAB stated that Maryam Nawaz and Abbas were arrested in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

Condemning the arrest in a strongly worded speech, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, walked out of the session.

"Today in this new Pakistan, Miss Maryam Nawaz has been arrested without any conviction so I am walking out of this house," he said.

He alleged that the Imran Khan-led government had sanctioned Maryam's arrest.

"We are witnessing this practice once again in this Naya Pakistan; you (Imran Khan) are so shameless."

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability, Shahzad Akbar, on Wednesday said the Sharif family had used Chaudhry Sugar Mills for money-laundering and illegal transfer of its shares.

Akbar said that the mill's shares were transferred in 2008 to Maryam Nawaz, who later transferred some seven million of them to Abbas in 2010, according to reports.

Maryam was summoned by the NAB in the case on Thursday but she did not appear before the bureau and went to meet her father instead.

Dawn cited Pakistan Muslim League (N) sources as saying that Maryam was taken into custody after she was shown an arrest warrant issued due to her non-appearance before the bureau.

According to the NAB press release, Maryam and Abbas will be presented before an accountability court in Lahore for remand on Friday.

PML-N leaders and supporters protested the development outside the National Assembly.

In a charged address before he walked out of the joint Parliament session, Bilawal criticized the government for "pursuing its agenda of political victimization" and said similar cases were taken up against women during military dictator Zia-ul Haq's regime.

A resolution was also submitted in the Punjab Assembly against Maryam Nawaz arrest.

She had appeared before NAB on July 31 to record her statement in the case. The statement was regarding "dubious" business transactions of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills of which she was one of the major shareholders.


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