PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Saturday defended the arrest of former human rights minister and PTI leader Shireen Mazari by police officials, saying no one was above the law.
Speaking to the PML-N social media team in Lahore shortly after Mazari’s arrest, Maryam said: “If the fight against corruption [Establishment] arrested her, so they must have a reason to do so.”
Maryam said she learned of Mazari’s arrest from the news, adding that “I was not happy to hear that”.
Recounting the reported details of the case against Mazari, Maryam claimed that it was registered under the government of former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar and involved the transfer of 800 state-owned canals to a ” false society”.
“I heard on TV that the PTI was playing the aura (woman) card on this [incident] that a woman was arrested,” she said. Maryam warned the PTI not to use the aura card as she recounted the details and circumstances of her own previous arrests and the “treatment meted out to her”.
“I haven’t played aura card … I was also a woman, someone’s daughter and I was in prison for a baseless political affair but I never pretended to be mazloom (oppressed).”
Despite this, Maryam said she does not believe in revenge. She said Mazari should face the charge for which she was arrested and provide answers and evidence to prove it wrong.
“If she succeeds and proves innocent, I promise the nation that Maryam Nawaz Sharif will be the first to stand by her side.
“But it cannot happen that you brutally violate the Constitution and then start blaming the courts for which they have been open at night for you,” said the vice president of PML-N, apparently referring to the president of the PTI, Imran Khan.
She claimed that Imran was still the blue-eyed person in the establishment. In contrast, she said what PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif was doing was “constructive criticism” of the institutions and asked them to stay within their bounds.
“Nawaz Sharif is not the blue eyes of the system but he is of the nation that brings him [to power] again and again.”
Maryam criticized Imran and other PTI officials for their critical comments on institutions and alleged violations of the Constitution, referring to the events leading up to the vote of no confidence.
“But there is no action against it. If Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif or Maryam Nawaz had committed this action of violating the Constitution, our bodies would have been hanged in prison,” she said.
“What is it that bullies, curses you and leads a dirty campaign against the institutions, it is facilitated. Shireen Mazari is not greater than the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was present in court of the FIA today with the Chief Minister – his son,” Maryam said, reiterating that the PTI chief should give his answer.
She said Mazari’s alleged crime should be brought to light. “This can only happen when [questions are raised] on your misdeeds, you escape easily by intimidating institutions,” Maryam added.
However, she reassured that the PML-N would continue to stand up for justice and would not allow any injustice or revenge action.
Interestingly, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz earlier today ordered Mazari’s release, saying he “did not agree” with the arrest and that action would be taken against him. anti-corruption personnel behind the incident.
“As a woman, Shireen Mazari should be respected,” he said in a statement. “The arrest of a woman is not in line with our social values.”
“Following the investigation, if the arrest is unavoidable, the law will take its course,” he said, adding that “the PML-N, as a political party, believes in respect for women” .
The chief minister said he condemned the use of ‘shameful language’ against Maryam but that ‘revenge is not our style’. He was referring to Imran’s misogynistic remark made in Multan on Friday.
He ordered Rawalpindi police to release Mazari from the custody of anti-corruption officials.