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Police Add Terrorism Charges To FIR Against Maryam Nawaz

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Police have added terrorism charges to a case registered against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, her husband Muhammad Safdar, and 14 members of PML-N for allegedly clashing with police officials outside the National Accountability Bureau office at Thokar Niaz Baig last month.

On Aug 12, Maryam Nawaz was summoned by the accountability watchdog in a case pertaining to a transfer of land. As she reached the NAB office, the things got heated, resulting in stone-pelting and baton-charge. Police claim that PML-N had started the clash, where PML-N leadership claims that the police targetted them unfairly.

Subsequently, the accountability watchdog had filed a case at Chung Police Station, alleging PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz instigated party workers upon provocation by her husband, Muhammad Safdar Awan.

Taking to Twitter, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif condemned the incorporation of the anti-terrorism law clause in the FIR. “[This] shows how coward and insecure Niazi government is. PTI is brazenly promoting the politics of vendetta and revenge,” he added.

Safdar gets bail:

Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore has granted bail to Safdar till Sept 11, reported Express Tribune. According to a plea filed by the PML-N leader in the ATC, the charges framed against him were ‘baseless’ and ‘politically motivated’. The court issued directives to the police to provide it with the record of the cases against Safdar.

Earlier, Safdar had approached a sessions court for bail, wherein the prosecutor told the court about the incorporation of terror charges in the FIR. At this, the court told Safdar to approach an ATC for bail in the case, as it was beyond its jurisdiction.

“After addition of the offence, which are triable exclusively by special court constituted under the Anti-Terrorism Act, this court cannot confirm the pre-arrest bail granted to the petitioner.”

In his plea, Safdar had pleaded that police had attacked Maryam’s car outside the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Complex at Thokar Niaz Baig and registered a baseless case on the charges of rioting.

Backstory:

On Aug 12, PML-N workers, who had gathered outside the NAB office ahead of the hearing, allegedly clashed with police at Thokar Niaz Baig. Resultantly, police resorted to baton-charge and tear gas, resulting in injuries to PML-N workers.

After the clash, Maryam posted a video on Twitter showing the cracked windshield of her vehicle. She said, “Pelting stones at my car, police have broken its windshield. This is a bulletproof car and police are pelting stones and shelling [PML-N workers] in front of NAB’s office to instigate workers.”

Afterward, Maryam addressed a press conference, wherein she had accused NAB of high-handedness. The PML-N leader had said the crackdown on the party workers by the Punjab Police was the ‘worst form of state oppression’. She had also accused NAB of involvement in ‘political engineering’, saying the accountability watchdog blatantly used the taxpayers’ money to manipulate politics.

Furthermore, PML-N leader Azma Bukhari alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan had planned to attack PML-N VP Maryam Nawaz during her visit to the NAB office on Aug 12.

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