Disqualifications, NAB actions aimed at damaging PML-N election campaign, say party leaders

June 28, 2018

Artwork: Ayesha Ather

The PML-N has reacted harshly over the disqualification of its leader Daniyal Aziz from the Supreme Court and NAB’s action against its candidates.

The Supreme Court in its verdict had found Daniyal Aziz guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him till the rising of the court under Section 2 (b) of Article 204 of the Constitution.

The court ruled that Aziz had attempted to malign the court in his speech and spread hatred.

Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of ousted PM Nawaz Sharif, took a dig at the top court for disqualifying the party’s former minister.

“The members of PML-N are being disqualified one by one,” She said. “Why don’t they say once for all that we are seeing PML-N winning the next elections and we don’t want to let it happen.”

On June 27, an election tribunal had disqualified former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from holding any public office for life.

Abbasi was disqualified for not declaring his assets in his nominations papers.

The eight-page verdict issued by the tribunal had declared that Abbassi is not eligible to become member of the Parliament under Article 62 (1) (F) of the Constitution as he is not Sadiq and Amin.

Article 62(1)(f) is the same provision under which former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by Supreme Court on July 28, 2017 in the Panama Papers case.

The PML-N leaders have openly criticized the Supreme Court after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified for being dishonest in July last year.

Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N supremo, had himself accused the “Khalai Makhlooq”−an unclear reference to Pakistan’s establishment−of attempting to damage his party and bar it from winning the next elections.

Just a few weeks before the elections, Pakistan’s accountability watchdog has also sped up its inquiries against the former public officeholders of the party.

Qamar-ul-Islam Raja, the party’s candidate for NA-59, was taken into custody on June 25 over his alleged involvement in Saaf Pani Company scam.

Raja was one of the board members of the Saaf Pani Company.

Shehbaz Sharif, the PML-N president, has also been summoned for questioning in the same case.

Commenting on NAB’s recent actions, Shehbaz Sharif said the arrests of party workers have raised a question mark on the fairness of the elections.

In a statement issued from Lahore, the PML-N president urged the Election Commission of Pakistan to allow political parties to independently run their campaigns.

“Let the people’s court take the decision,” Sharif said.

He alleged that NAB’s actions against the party candidates were aimed at damaging the PML-N’s election campaign.