Monday Sep 28 2020
Web Desk

Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif arrested by NAB after LHC turns down bail plea

Web Desk

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday arrested Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif after a bail plea he had filed was turned down and interim bail cancelled by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The arrest is in relation to a money-laundering and assets beyond means case filed by NAB earlier. 

A large number of PML-N workers, including women, were at the LHC, where Shehbaz was arrested. 

They chanted against NAB and the PTI-led government as the former Punjab chief minister and president of the PML-N was taken away by officials. 

Shortly after the arrest, a scuffle broke out between security personnel and the Shehbaz's supporters.

Underhanded tactics will not bend PML-N, says Nawaz

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif reacted to news of Shehbaz Sharif's arrest, warning opponents that 'underhanded tactics' will not be able to bend the PML-N.

Taking to Twitter, Nawaz said that no one should remain under the false impression that they will be able to 'bend' the party through such underhanded tactics.

Today, this puppet system has verified the APC's resolution by arresting Shehbaz Sharif," he tweeted. "Shehbaz Sharif had said earlier that whether he is put behind bars or not, all decisions taken during the APC will be implemented."

Nawaz's tweet comes a few hours after Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif was arrested by NAB outside the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Reacting to news of her uncle's arrest, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said Shehbaz was "arrested ONLY because he REFUSED to play in the hands of those who wanted to use him against his brother".

She was referring to speculation that Nawaz and Shehbaz have differences of opinion regarding the handling of civil-military relations. 

"He preferred standing behind prison bars than to stand against his brother," she wrote on Twitter. "You will not be able to save your false and fake mandate even by arresting Shehbaz Sharif.

"Whatever decisions were made by the Shehbaz Sharif-led PML-N delegation at the APC, every PML-N worker will remain steadfast on these promises," she tweeted.

"This revengeful accountability cannot discourage Nawaz Sharif and his allies. The time is not far when this government and those who brought it to power will be held accountable by the nation," she added.

Party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb also criticised the move, saying: "I want to state it clearly here that the PLN-N leader was arrested by the NAB on the behest of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

'NAB was ordered to arrest Shehbaz before GB polls'

"For the last two years, the public has been witness to this spectacle of NAB trying to subdue emerging voices by using corruption and various other cases," Aurangzeb said in her statement to the media.

"Just like the general elections of 2018, it has been decided to rig the upcoming Gilgit-Baltistan polls," she alleged. 

The PML-N spokesperson further claimed that Shehbaz's arrest was "an attempt to paralyse" the political developments taking place following the opposition's multiparty conference..

The NAB previously issued orders to freeze 23 properties belonging to former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif and his sons, Hamza and Suleman, over claims of money laundering and asset beyond means. Ali Shah

"We are not afraid of these tactics and will face all odds bravely," she said. "This is a scheme — not to arrest Shehbaz Sharif, but to arrest all projects and initiatives to bring about progress in the country. NAB was ordered to arrest the leader before the GB polls and that is what has happened.

"I would like to convey to the PML-N supporters that your leadership is valiant and facing all odds in the face of adversity," Aurangzeb added.

LHC earlier extended bail till Sept 28

The former chief minister of Punjab had earlier reached the LHC for a hearing of his interim bail petition in the money-laundering case filed by the NAB.

A two-member bench of the LHC presided over the hearing, while lawyers representing the former Punjab chief minister presented their arguments after a three-day hiatus.

Read more: NAB summons Shehbaz Sharif for third time in money laundering case

Last week, the LHC had extended Shehbaz's interim bail in the same case till September 28.