PML-N leaders, workers barred from meeting Nawaz at prison

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif once again lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan for his alleged role in barring party workers from meeting their leader – Nawaz Sharif – at the Kot Lakhpat prison.

Hundreds of PML-N workers, including senior parliamentarians and former ministers, came to the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore on Thursday to meet the incarcerated former prime minister but the jail authorities didn’t allow them to go inside.

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Nawaz Sharif, who is facing seven-year sentence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case, was allowed to have weekly meeting with only few immediate family members, including Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz.

“Imran Khan is scared of Nawaz Sharif and therefore he is using such tactics,” Shehbaz said while addressing the party workers outside the jail. “The drama of Imran Khan will be over soon as he will be held accountable in the court of people for this cruelty. I am warning you [PM] to let these workers meet with their leader who have come here in his love,” he said, alleging that the jail authorities aren’t giving basic facilities to PML-N’s stalwarts Kh Saad Rafique and Rana Sanaullah on the behest of Imran Khan.

Senior leadership of PML-N including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal accompanied Shehbaz Sharif in his vehicle while Maryam Nawaz and Capt (r) Safdar came on another vehicle.

“More than 40 parliamentarians including senators are here to meet their leader. This is the third consecutive week that we have not been allowed to meet Nawaz Sharif,” former prime minister Abbasi said, adding that Nawaz Sharif is still the centre of Pakistan’s politics. He was of the view that jails and prisons are not new places for PML-N as they have faced them in the past and even during the dictatorships.

Former foreign minister and parliamentary leader of PML-N in National Assembly Khawaja Asif said the government wants to cut Nawaz Sharif’s contact with the outside world through such tactics, adding that the PML-N will not budge from its stance. “The eternity belongs to only democracy and constitution and such cruel tactics being used against us will have a short life,” he said.

Dr Adnan, the personal physician of Nawaz Sharif, was also not allowed to meet the PML-N supremo. “Another week has passed but the jail authorities have not allowed me to meet him despite multiple requests,” he said.

A large number of PML-N workers started gathering outside the jail early in the morning. Some of them were also carrying tents and chairs to establish a camp there but the jail authorities didn’t let them cross the first gate of the jail.

Meanwhile, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz has challenged the order of the jail authorities of not allowing meeting of Nawaz Sharif with the family twice a week in the Lahore High Court. Maryam Nawaz has made the Punjab government party in the petition, in which she said that allowing only one meeting with Nawaz Sharif in a week is illegal, keeping in view his health condition.

Earlier, Maryam Nawaz had requested the jail authorities to allow her meeting with Nawaz Sharif twice a week because he is suffering with multiple diseases, including serious health ailments.