Why The Arrest of Maryam
We had not even recovered from the horror of the arrest of Miftah Ismail, came the news of Maryam Nawaz’s arrest. As she set out on her visits to various parts of Punjab in the last few weeks, it was becoming clear that sooner rather than later she would be arrested. The unprecedented turn out wherever she went was simply not acceptable to Imran Khan. It’s not just the numbers but the passion, the devotion and the absolute love with which she was received everywhere. The initial response of the government was a complete blackout of her political rallies. In a so-called democratic Pakistan, even the tickers on television channels were not allowed. Initially, three channels covered part of her rallies but were immediately shut down for more than 24 hours.
On few occasions last week, I accompanied Maryam and I remember on our way to Pakpattan, she remarked that Imran Khan would soon arrest her. Her popularity was soaring to unprecedented heights.
People were waiting 10 hours or more just to have a glimpse of Maryam. Hundreds of thousands people – more men and women, old and young – all thronged around her jeep – a sight that I can never forget. It was impossible to move and that is why most rallies starting around 2 or 3 pm from Lahore would return around 6 or 7 in the morning. In Sargodha, she addressed the rally around 4 in the morning. In Faisalabad, her last address started after 3 am.
Maryam said she’s not afraid of her imminent arrest. She cared for the people of Pakistan. She knew Pakistanis under the present regime have been crushed economically and the miseries were just beginning to pile with no respite in sight.
It is unfortunate that Imran has shown himself to be such a coward who could not politically face Maryam – as she called herself a nihatti larki.
The PML-N would not only survive this latest assault but also grow more popular with each passing day. Imran has no solution to resolve the multiple problems that Pakistanis face, plus the embarrassment of a Kashmir sellout in handling the latest fiasco with India, where he supported Modi to win the elections in spite of his commitment to repeal Article 370.
Maryam’s arrest proves once again that Imran wants to establish a fascist one party state and convert Pakistan into an authoritarian state with no opposition and no independent media and judiciary.
The writer is a PML-N leader and a former governor of Sindh