Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz was not able to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) today after her car was blocked from entering as her party workers and police clashed outside the anti-corruption watchdog’s office in Lahore.
After a deadlock for over an hour where the PML-N leader refused to leave before NAB recorded her statement, Maryam turned back shortly after the Bureau announced via a press release that today’s proceedings had been delayed.
The law enforcement officials started also arresting the PML-N workers outside the NAB office after Maryam Nawaz left for her residence.
The police and PML-N workers clashed after law enforcement personnel tried stopping the supporters from breaching the barriers set outside the watchdog’s office. The PML-N workers reportedly started pelting stones at the police following the scuffle.
The police pelted stones back at the PML-N workers accompanying Maryam. The pelting allegedly damaged the windshield of Maryam’s car.
“Police attacking my car. Imagine if it were not a bullet proof vehicle. Shame,” tweeted Maryam Nawaz with a video of police pelting stones at her convoy.
In a separate video showing the damaged windshield, Maryam said that the police was firing teargas at her convoy. She added that police were pelting stones and shelling outside NAB’s office to disperse the PML-N workers who had gathered outside.
“If you are so afraid of PML-N, if you are so afraid of Nawaz Sharif, if you are so afraid of Maryam Nawaz, then why do you summon Maryam Nawaz? If there is so much fear then why do you summon [me]?,” Maryam said in the video.
In a separate tweet, the PML-N leader also condemned the police “actions” against the “peaceful” protesters that had gathered outside NAB’s office in support of her.
Later, the PML-N leader also came out to address her workers present outside the NAB office.
“I am standing here. If you have summoned me then listen to my answers,” said Maryam after coming out of her car to address PML-N workers. She added that she will not leave as she has come to respond to the “fake allegations” against her.
PML-N leaders and activists had planned to receive their leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif outside the NAB office after the PML-N Lahore president started motivating activists and workers to set up reception camps on every route leading to the NAB office.
NAB postpones hearing
NAB has said that it has postponed the PML-N leader’s hearing has been postponed due to the situation outside its office.
“For the first time in 20 years, [a] national and constitutional institute has been dealt with like this,” said NAB in a statement.
The bureau also said that the PML-N leader was summoned in her “personal capacity” to record her statement. It added that PML-N workers were “used” under an “organised plan”.
The anti-corruption watchdog said that it will also register an FIR against the accused for meddling in affairs of the state after taking the approval from NAB chairman. It also clarified that it has no link with any political party and group.
PML-N workers seen loading stones in shopper bags
A footage available with Geo News shows, what appears to be, PML-N workers loading stones in shopper bags, onto a double cabin vehicle.
Punjab CM takes notice of clashes
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the clashes outside the NAB office and directed the chief secretary and inspector general of police to submit a report on the matter.
“No one will be allowed to take the law in their hands,” said CM Buzdar in a statement. He added that action will be taken against those who violated the law.
Bilawal, Shehbaz condemn use of “force”
Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif condemned the shelling and pelting of stones on Maryam Nawaz’s convoy.
Shehbaz said that “NAB-Niazi nexus ” is behind the attack on the PML-N leader’s car and party workers.
“Imran Niazi is on a negative path of undemocratic, illegal and political revenge against [his] political opponents,” said Shehbaz in a statement tweeted by the party.
Pakistan Peooples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the “unnecessary” use of force, teargas and stone pelting on the PML-N leader.
Summons by NAB
Last week, NAB had summoned Maryam Nawaz to appear before it in a case related to her illegally acquiring hundreds of acres of land in Raiwind.
Maryam Nawaz had decided to appear before NAB for questioning in connection with its probe into the case.
Party sources revealed that she made this decision after consultation with lawyers, family members and party leaders. NAB has asked Maryam to turn up before its combined investigation team on August 11 along with details of 200 acres of land she allegedly acquired in Raiwind in 2013 in violation of rules.
She was required to furnish complete details regarding the sale and purchase of land as well as funds arranged for acquiring the land. The bureau has asked her to submit details of duty and tax payment for the purchase of the land in question and whether the land had been brought in agriculture or commercial use.
NAB has also decided to probe former DCOs Noorul Amin Mengal and Ahad Cheema in the case. Earlier in May, NAB Lahore had opened an investigation against the Sharif family for illegally acquiring hundreds of acres of land in Raiwind to include in its Jati Umra residence.