Banned outfit leaders were taken into custody to ‘protect’ them from Indian planes: Bilawal

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari claimed that the government didn’t arrest the leaders of banned outfits but took them into “protective custody” to save them from Indian jets.

“They have been taken into protective custody so that the Indian planes don’t blow them up,” Bilawal told reporters in Islamabad on Wednesday. The PPP chairperson was commenting on federal government’s recent crackdown against banned outfits, including Jaish-e-Mohammad and Jamaat-ud-Dawah.

On February 26, Indian planes violated Pakistani airspace and dropped their payload in Balakot before fleeing back to India. The Modi government said that the planes were there to target a seminary linked with Masood Azhar’s JeM.

The government has taken into custody hundreds of members of banned organisations, including Masood Azhar’s brother and other relatives in the last two weeks.

Related: Bilawal and Asif Zardari leave NAB office in Islamabad after hour-long interrogation

The PPP chairperson also lashed out at the National Accountability Bureau for “making cases to control the politicians.” Bilawal and his father Asif Ali Zardari recorded their statements at the NAB office in Islamabad Wednesday morning. They were interrogated for an hour and a half.

NAB had summoned the top PPP leaders in the fake accounts case and the Park Lane case. A Karachi banking court was previously hearing the fake accounts case against the former president and his close aides, including Omni Group director Anwar Majeed. However, NAB requested the court to transfer the case to Rawalpindi. On March 15, the court ruled in NAB’s favour and shifted the case to Rawalpindi.

Ahead of the appearance, a large number of PPP workers gathered near the NAB office and clashed with the police. Over 35 workers were arrested for trying to get close to the office gate.

Bilawal said that he didn’t give any call for protest ahead of his appearance and demanded that his arrested workers be released. The PPP chairperson said that the government doesn’t even tolerate constructive criticism, adding that a JIT should be made on the “benami” prime minister.

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