Former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has defended the PML-N against the allegation of being the establishment’s favorite, claiming that if the party leaders are now being acquitted by courts, it is because they were implicated in fake cases in the first place.
“Is getting acquitted in fake cases after facing long court proceedings the sign of being a ladla [blue-eyed boy of the powers that be?]” asked Marriyum on Sunday in a press conference held at the party’s headquarters at Model Town neighborhood of Lahore.
The PML-N is being tagged by its rivals particularly the PPP as being the new favorite of the establishment. These parties and some analysts point to the relief being offered to PML-N leadership, including PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif and the party president, Shehbaz Sharif, by courts.
Read More: Shehbaz acquitted in Ashiana housing reference
An accountability court in Lahore on Saturday acquitted Shehbaz in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in 2018.
The court also acquitted other co-accused, including ex-bureaucrat and current interim Privatisation Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad and Lahore Development Authority (LDA) former director general and incumbent caretaker PM’s special assistant Ahad Khan Cheema.
The NAB reference accused Shehbaz of misusing his authority during his term as the Punjab chief minister in the execution of a low-cost housing scheme launched in 2010 in Lahore.
Talking with reference to the verdict, Marriyum said: “By acquitting Shehbaz Sharif and other innocent leaders of the PML-N, courts are atoning for the injustice earlier meted out [to these politicians].”
Criticizing the PTI party, she said during the rule of Imran Khan the leadership of the PML-N was made the target of the worst political revenge.
She asserted that the PTI government, which assumed power in 2018, bore responsibility for unemployment and the economic downturn.
“Pakistan, which was progressing in 2018, faced economic regression when the PTI chairman was imposed on the country, and today the entire nation is bearing the brunt of that,” she added.
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Marriyum stated that Shehbaz Sharif was arrested in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case after being summoned in connection with a NAB inquiry into a Saaf Pani Scheme case.
“Similarly, Ahad Cheema was also arrested for completing Shehbaz Sharif’s vision of providing relief to the people of Punjab and not for any corruption. Today, the courts are officially confirming, through legal stamps, that there was no corruption in these false cases,” she added.