Attempts of inimical forces to derail important democratic activity shall not succeed: Pak Army Chief Bajwa
JUL 13, 2018: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team Friday evening arrested former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Safdar after the duo convicted by a court in Avenfield Apartments case landed at Lahore airport.
They were subsequently boarded by a NAB team onto a chartered plane bound for Islamabad International Airport (IIA) which will eventually take them to Adiala jail to serve sentences announced by the accountability court in Avenfield reference last week.
According to reports, dozens of security officials entered the plane after it landed in Lahore and asked other passengers to leave. The duo’s passports were seized by a three-member Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team. Their immigration formalities were completed on board the plane.
Nawaz and Maryam were convicted by an accountability court in the Avenfield corruption reference last Friday and handed jail sentences of 10 years and seven years, respectively. The former PM was found guilty of owning assets beyond known income, while his daughter was convicted for aiding and abetting her father in covering up a “conspiracy” to conceal assets obtained beyond known means.
The court also ordered takeover of Avenfield apartments — the posh multi-million dollar apartments in UK the Sharifs own since the 1990s.
The verdict and the duo’s arrests deal a serious blow to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party’s bid weeks ahead of the July 25 countrywide polls.
Earlier, talking to reporters from Abu Dhabi over the phone, Nawaz said Pakistan had been turned into a battlefield. His stance hovers around his narrative of political victimization leading to conviction on trumped-up charges to engineer the country’s politics suitable to “invisible forces”.
When asked if he believes that returning to Pakistan in the current “tense” situation was a good idea, Nawaz said that he knows “what the situation in the country is like”.
He alleged that some forces were forcing the caretaker government to take harsh decisions in Punjab ahead of elections. The province — Pakistan’s largest with maximum number of seats to form government in the center, is PML-N’s stronghold and being challenged by two of its largest and strongest competitors — Imran Khan’s PTI and Bilawal’s PPP.
Nawaz urged Punjab caretaker chief minister Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi to resign or step down because “people of Punjab had lost faith in him”. The deposed PM questioned why such measures were being taken in Punjab alone. He was commenting on strict law and order steps taken on the eve of his arrival and arrest.
Mastung bombing: 128 dead, over 200 injured in deadliest attack since APS, Daesh claims responsibility
In an unrelated development Friday afternoon at least 128 people, including Baloch politician Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, were killed and more than 200 injured in a deadly suicide blast in Balochistan’s Mastung district, ahead of key general elections on July 25.
The militant Islamic State (Daesh) claimed responsibility for the attack through its Aamaq news agency.
“Mir Siraj Raisani succumbed to his wounds while he was being shifted to Quetta,” Balochistan Home Minister Agha Umar Bangulzai had told AFP earlier.
Siraj is the younger brother of former Balochistan chief minister Mohammad Aslam Khan Raisani.
He was a Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate for PB-35 (Mastung). Senior provincial official Saeed Jamali said the bomber detonated his explosives in the middle of the compound where the political meeting was taking place.
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk condemned the attack in separate statements.
The army chief also issued a statement condemning the attack.
“COAS condemns heinous terrorist attk in Mashtung. Grieved on loss of precious lives. Pak lost a highly devoted & capable politician Siraj Raisani. Attempts of inimical forces to derail important democratic activity shall not succeed. United we all Pakistanis shall IA defeat them.”
The Mastung bombing was the latest — and deadliest — of a string of attacks targeting politically active persons ahead of the July 25 election.
Earlier today, a blast targeted former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Akram Khan Durrani’s convoy in Bannu. While Durrani remained safe, four people were killed and 32 others injured in the attack.
Last night, two people had been injured in a blast near BAP’s election office in Khuzdar.
On July 10, a suicide blast had killed Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour and 19 others in Peshawar’s Yaktoot area. The attack was claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which had also claimed responsibility for 2012 attack that killed Haroon’s father, Bashir Bilour.
On July 7, at least seven people, including a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), were injured when a convoy came under a bomb attack in Bannu.
Earlier this month, an attack on a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate’s office in North Waziristan’s Razmak tehsil had injured 10.