Maryam Nawaz speaks during a news conference in Lahore. File
Tariq Butt / Reuters
In a major development, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday arrested Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President and daughter of incarcerated former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam.
The NAB team took her into custody while she was visiting her father in the Kot Lakhpat Jail Lahore as on Thursday was the day of visits by his family members.
The NAB had summoned Maryam for further investigation in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. But she told the agency that she could not appear on Thursday as she was to meet her father.
She had been given a questionnaire based on six questions, which she was due to answer. As she did not show, the NAB team went to the Kot Lakhpat Jail and arrested her from there.
Meanwhile, the NAB also apprehended Yousuf Abbas, first cousin of Maryam, son of late Abbas Sharif and nephew of Nawaz Sharif. He was also to appear before the NAB on Thursday, but he did not.
In a statement, NAB said, "She will be presented before a court tomorrow," adding that the arrest related to the sugar mill case.
An NAB team also raided the home of Shahbaz Sharif, the current leader of the opposition, and Maryam's uncle, in search of another her cousins, Abdul Aziz, an agency official said on condition of anonymity.
The mill is owned by the family, which has dominated the country's politics for three decades, and says the cases against it are politically motivated.
Maryam had appeared before the NAB on July 31 to record her statement in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. The statement was regarding business transactions of the company of which she was one of the major shareholders.
The NAB alleged that in January 2018 the PML-N government’s financial monitoring unit reported to NAB a huge suspicious transaction involving billions of rupees in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills under Anti-Money Laundering Act.
It claimed that a NAB inquiry started in October 2018 detected that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam, Shahbaz Sharif and the family of the late Abbas Sharif are shareholders in the company along with some foreigners.
Earlier, Maryam had remained in prison along with her father after they were convicted by an accountability court. Subsequently, the Islamabad High Court had suspended the sentence and bailed them out.
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Imran denounced the arrest, claiming on Twitter that it left no doubt that Pakistan has become a place "devoid of rule of law." He urged followers to "stand up for our fundamental rights" to prevent the country from drifting toward "a point of no return."
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