Dozens of Protesters Detained in Pakistan
Authorities detained 56 members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party (PML-N) who on Tuesday clashed with police in front of the government anti-corruption office in Lahore where the daughter of the party founder, Nawaz Sharif, was summoned in a graft case.
A judge ordered on Wednesday all 56 to remain in detention for two weeks.
The National Accountability Bureau, NAB, is investigating Maryam Nawaz over 200 acres of land allegedly transferred to her illegally for her residence in Lahore in 2013. The appearance was cancelled after a clash which lasted for two hours.
Footage shown on several local television channels showed chaos outside the NAB office building when Maryam arrived with hundreds of her party workers and supporters in a convoy of vehicles. Her supporters’ allegedly pelted stones at police while officers retaliated with batons and tear gas.
The aired footage and pictures also showed vehicles that reportedly belonged to PML-N members loaded with bags full of stones.
Maryam Nawaz later said at a press conference that the NAB summoned her through a “vague” call up notice to harm her. She posted a video on Twitter that appears to show police throwing stones at her car.
“Now it is clear that the NAB summoned me to harm me,” she said. “If my car had not been bulletproof it would likely cause a head injury," she said.
Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat responded to Maryam Nawaz’s presser by saying that “the kind of thuggery seen outside NAB office is unprecedented.”
“They are using violent techniques to save corrupt people. The media has witnessed the violence outside NAB,” Basharat said.
The other side fired back.
Shehbaz Sharif, president of PML-N tweeted that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has hit a new low, calling the clash - which he referred to as an attack against PML-N supporters - “shameful” and called the NAB “an instrument” for the fulfillment of the political objectives of the regime.
The NAB said that the violent behavior seen in front of its office on Tuesday was not witnessed in the 20 years-long history of the anti-graft watchdog.
“The PML-N activists smashed the windows of NAB's Lahore office, besides injuring the staff. That hooliganism forced NAB to suspend Maryam Nawaz's appearance,” the statement said.