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NAB Throws Another Curveball To Rein In Maryam Nawaz

The National Accountability Bureau has decided to up the ante against Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s Vice President Maryam Nawaz. It has been reported that in a regional board meeting of NAB Lahore carried out under the supervision of the Director General of NAB, it has been decided that in the pending cases of money laundering against Maryam Nawaz, her assets should be frozen.

In this regard, NAB will write to Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Lahore Development Authority and Excise and Taxation Department, requesting the freezing of Maryam Nawaz’s assets. Following this, Maryam Nawaz will not be able to buy new assets, sell her old assets and use them in any manner. Furthermore, only after being fully exonerated in these cases will the PML-N vice president be able to use her assets.

A fortnight back, Maryam Nawaz had been arrested in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills Case while she was paying a visit to her imprisoned father. The move triggered vehement criticism from the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto who led an opposition walkout from the National Assembly, citing the dictatorial attitude of the government.

In the month of July, Maryam Nawaz had led massive political rallies in Mandi Bahauddin, Faisalabad and Quetta. In the first week of August, she continued her power show by conducting rallies in Khushab and Pakpattan. Her objectives include first and foremost the release of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif and other politicians currently being ‘victimised’ by the PTI government. Her other demands, likely to not just trouble the government but also certain institutions, include civilian supremacy, removal of restrictions on media, and the carrying out of fresh elections.

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It is no wonder that the PTI government is coming down hard on Maryam Nawaz considering how she is mobilizing PML-N’s vote bank in Punjab.

Allowing her to continue with her political activities would not only strengthen Maryam and her father’s narrative of ‘respecting the vote’, it would also have been detrimental to PTI’s future prospects in the province of Punjab. It is understandable that right after this recent spate of charged political rallies, she was suddenly arrested.

Maryam’s arrest and the freezing of her assets are meant to prevent her from denting PTI’s popularity, but it may well backfire by causing her to partake in risky manoeuvres like she did earlier with the release of Judge Arshad Malik’s videos. This move may also have the drawback of charging the opposition, especially the PPP, in support of Maryam Nawaz, as the oppressive tactics of the government affect both parties.

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