LAHORE – Hundreds of PML-N workers clashed with anti-riot police units outside the Regional Headquarters of the National Accountability (NAB) in Lahore on Tuesday as PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif arrived there to get her statement recorded in a land acquisition case, being probed by the anti-graft authority.
Lahore police sources claimed they arrested dozens of PML-N workers following the violent clash which left several policemen wounded. The Chuhng police also registered a criminal case against hundreds of the party workers on the complaint of a NAB officer late Tuesday night.
According to the NAB’s complaint filed with the police, some 700 people belonging to PPML-N created lawlessness like situation outside the bureau’s office. At least 188 persons are nominated by the NAB while some 500 people are mentioned as unidentified persons. A good number of parliamentarians of the PML-N party including Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Rana Sana Ullah, Javed Latif, Malik Riaz, Daniyal Aziz, Tallal Chaudhry, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Musaddaq Malik, Uzma Bokhari, and Khurram Dastgir are also nominated as accused persons by the NAB officials.
On the other hand, the PML-N party also filed an application with the local police for registration of a criminal case against PM Imran Khan, his advisor Mirza Shahzad Akbar, NAB Chairman retired Justice
Javed Iqbal, Lahore NAB DG Saleem Shahzad, and 100 other unknown persons.
Literally, the scene outside the NAB building turned into a battlefield as PML-N workers pelted the police guards with stones. The police also baton charged the protesting workers, used water cannon, and fired tear gas shells to disperse the mob. The clash between police and PML-N workers triggered worst traffic mess on the national highways as long queues of vehicles were seen trapped at the city’s main entry point.
PML-N’s hooliganism exposed, says Raja Basharat
Eyewitnesses said the situation turned worse when police started baton charge to disperse the party workers who tried to remove barriers forcibly. As police used force to control the mob, the activists retaliated by throwing stones of the security officials.
Maryam Nawaz Sharif later took to twitter and shared images of blood-stained party workers on the social networking site. She condemned the ‘police torture’ and also expressed sympathies with the injured party workers.
Footage of the clash went viral on local news channels and social media as the incident unfolded. A video shows men in plainclothes throwing stones at police. Another clip shows policemen brutally assaulting some PML-N workers besides using batons, water cannons and tear gas.
Maryam, also senior leader of the leading opposition party and daughter of former PM Nawaz Sharif, reached the NAB office along with hundreds of supporters. Dozens of cars were part of her caravan when she left her Jati Umra residence to appear before the anti-graft watchdog.
As the mob created law and order situation on the national highways, the national accountability bureau cancelled her appearance and denied entry to Maryam and her supporters. The police reacted angrily and detained a number of the party workers.
Maryam Nawaz Sharif left the site following the clash and later she held a hard-hitting press conference, where she condemned the government stating that the rulers were “scared of PML-N’s rising popularity.”
PML-N party sources said Maryam left back shortly after the Bureau announced via a press release that Tuesday’s proceedings were postponed.
In a video that she posted on Twitter, Maryam alleged that police pelted stones at her car which cracked her bulletproof vehicle’s windshield. In another tweet, she also accused police of firing tear gas shells and baton-charging party workers.
Accompanied by PML-N leaders, Rana Sanaullah, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Marriyum Aurangzeb and others, she termed the happening as an act of “state-sponsored terrorism.”
She claimed that unarmed party workers present near the NAB office were shelled with tear gas and baton-charged. “I saw for the first time stoning, NAB’s thuggery and tear-gas shelling but the workers remained steadfast,” she said. “Despite the shelling and the injuries, the workers stood by me. I salute them.”
She also said that the party will provide legal assistance to the arrested and detained workers. She said her car was a bulletproof vehicle otherwise the stones and bricks would have hit her head.
While referring to JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s upcoming All-Parties Conference, she said that former PM Nawaz Sharif had directed the party leadership to cooperate with other Opposition parties to present a united front. “If Maulana Sahib has any reservations, the PML-N will remove them. So there is no need to worry about this,” said Maryam when asked about the APC.
PML-N’s hooliganism exposed
Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat on Tuesday said that media footages have exposed the hooliganism of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz as its workers threw stones to pressurize National Accountability Bureau (NAB) during Maryam Nawaz’s appearance in NAB.
Addressing a press conference along with Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, he said that media footages showed that it was planned hooliganism by the PML-N so that it was inappropriate for Maryam Nawaz to say that she was targeted.
He said that action would be taken against the culprits responsible, adding that no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands. Action would be taken against those who would be identified through video footage, he added.
Raja Basharat said that cases would be registered against those involved in injuring the policemen, stone pelting, causing damage to state buildings and other violations. PML-N never respect the national institutions, he said and added that PML-N could not pressurize the national institutions by such coward acts.
He said that Maryam was summoned in a personal capacity to record her statement but instead of appearing, she displayed hooliganism in an organized manner through PML-N workers by pelting stones and creating disorder.
On the occasion, Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Fayyazul Hassan Chohan said that PML-N attitude was condemnable, adding that Maryam Nawaz followed his father Nawaz Sharif by attacking the NAB as his father was also involved in Supreme Court attack in 1998.
Fayyazul Hassan Chohan alleged that PML-N has distributed one million rupees among its workers yesterday for planning stone pelting and teargas during Maryam Nawaz’s appearance in NAB. Such an attitude had been seen against a constitutional and national institution for the first time in 20 years, he added.
Incident should be investigated: Qureshi
Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi Tuesday said the incident that occurred before the National Accountability Bureau in Lahore during the hearing of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Vice President Maryam Nawaz should be investigated.
Speaking in the National Assembly, he said, “We have eastern values and we have to respect them.” Talking about the Lahore incident, he said political leaders were appearing before NAB and no such incident occurred in the past. “We will get facts of the incident to stop it from happening again.”
He said Maryam should be given access to respectably present her case and her party workers should also show patience and tolerance. He said police could not gain anything politically from the incident. He was responding to PML-N leader Khawaja Asif, who had taken up the Lahore incident on a point of order in the House.