Police register FIR against 188 PML-N leaders, 300 unknown people on NAB’s complaint
Police have booked hundreds of people — including PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and her husband, Captain (retd) Safdar — for attacking the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office in Lahore and torturing NAB officials and police guards a day earlier.
NAB on Tuesday was unable to record the statement of Maryam – PML-N vice president – in an illegal land requisition case as her party workers ran berserk and clashed with riot police in an attempt to force their way into the office of the national graft buster in Lahore.
News channels showed chaotic scenes outside the NAB Complex at Thokar Niaz Baig as Maryam, daughter of former premier Nawaz Sharif, drove in accompanied by hundreds of PML-N activists and supporters in vehicles and on foot.
The situation turned ugly when some activists in the PML-N caravan pelted stones at police, who responded by using batons, water cannons and tear gas on the rioters.
Videos doing the round on social media and aired by TV channels showed vehicles of the PML-N activists loaded with sacks full of stones which, according to government ministers, indicate the rioting was not spontaneous – a charge the opposition party denies.
A day after the incident, Lahore’s Chung Police station registered a first information report (FIR) against PML-N leaders and workers on the complaint of a NAB deputy director, who accused the PML-N of creating a law and order situation.
In his complaint, NAB official alleged that the attack on NAB Office was masterminded by Maryam and Safdar in connivance with the PML-N workers.
He said Maryam had been summoned to appear “in person” to record her statement in the case and a heavy contingent of police and NAB security team were present to maintain law and order.
“At around 11:50 am, Maryam rather than appearing before NAB [investigation team] incited the party workers on abetment of her husband Capitan Safdar in a very organized manner and [the PML-N workers] resorted to hooliganism and stones pelting.”
“The workers were asked to come to NAB office through phone calls. Stones were brought from Jati Umra – Sharif’s family residence in Raiwand – in various vehicles including one owned by [PML-N leader] Mirza Javed.
“Maryam formed an illegal assembly to incite the party workers that police had ordered [them] to disperse and also attacked policemen in uniform with stones.”
In the statement the NAB officer nominated at least 188 PML-N workers and leaders including Maryam, Safdar, Rana Sanaullah, Javed Latif, Pervaiz Malik, Pervaiz Rashid, Muhammad Zubair, Azma Bukhari and Khuram Dastaghir.
The official also accused 300 unidentified persons, who, the eyewitnesses – including NAB officials and policemen – “can identify if they appear in person and also through use of videos and pictures”.
“A constitutional and legal department has been meted out this treatment for the first time in its 20 year history. [PML-N interfered] in government affairs and daily routine work of NAB was disrupted.”
After registration of an FIR by NAB, Captian Safdar also reached Chung Police station along with other party leaders and workers to file a complaint for registration of an FIR against key government officials for carrying out an alleged attack on Maryam Nawaz.
The complainant claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan, Special Assistant to the PM Shahzad Akbar, NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal, NAB Lahore Director General Saleem Shahzad and 100 unidentified persons planned an attack on the PML-N leader’s vehicle when she came for NAB interrogation on Tuesday.
“Maryam had been summoned in a case on the whims of Imran Khan and Shahzad Akbar. As she appeared before NAB office in her bulletproof land cruiser, over 100 unidentified people – policemen and NAB officials in plain-clothes – carrying fire-arms and clubs attacked her vehicle.
“They also resorted to use of water cannon, gas-shelling, baton-charge and firing. The vehicle was damaged. Besides, unidentified persons after breaking the windscreen of the vehicle also tried to murder my wife on the whims of Imran Khan and Shahzad Akbar,” Saftar’s complaint said.
He claimed that the NAB and police officials also tortured people leaving many injured. “A large number of people were also arrested unduly. Sensing the gravity of the situation, they left from the scene in the vehicle,” he said. The police refused to register an FIR on PML-N’s complaint.
Court gives PML-N workers in judicial custody
On Wednesday, a court also remanded 58 PML-N workers, arrested on Tuesday for rioting outside NAB office, in a 14-day judicial. Police produced the workers before a judicial magistrate, requesting him to remand them in their custody to investigate the incident and identify more suspects.
Farhad Ali Shah, counsel for PML-N workers, requested the court that the case was of political in nature and his clients were being targeted. “Thus, the case should be dismissed and the accused be released.”
After hearing arguments of both the parties, the court rejected the police’s request and sent the PML-N supporters to jail on judicial remand for 14 days.