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Behind bars for being daughter of Nawaz Sharif: Maryam

July 15, 2018 21:22 IST

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz, who was arrested along with her father Nawaz Sharif upon their arrival in Lahore, has said that she is in prison for being the daughter of a brave man.

The National Accountability Bureau officials took ousted prime minister Sharif, 68, and Maryam, 44, into custody in the Avenfield case, shortly after their arrival at Lahore airport from London via Abu Dhabi on Friday.

They were shifted to the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.


In an emotional audio message recorded before going to jail, Maryam appealed to the nation to pray for her mother's health.

"You all know that I left my mother in a critical condition. I went to London to meet her along with my father Nawaz Sharif," she said.

Maryam's mother Kulsoom Nawaz is on a ventilator after suffering a cardiac arrest in London where she is undergoing treatment for throat cancer.

"We found her unconscious and when I was returning back home, she opened her eyes and saw us but could not talk," Maryam was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.

"I wish to hug her in healthy condition," she said.

"They want to make me a weakness of my father (Nawaz Sharif) but luckily, now I am a source of strength," she said in the audio message.

She asked her voters to prepare for the July 25 general elections.

"If I was not in prison, I would fight this historical democratic battle with you on the streets," she said.

Maryam said that she was contesting election from a single constituency but now she is contesting for all the 272 constituencies.

Both Sharif and Maryam have been sentenced by an accountability court to 10 and 7 years in prison respectively.

Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court last year in the Panama Papers case.

Sharif has been one of the country's leading politicians for most of the past 30 years. He remains popular, especially in Punjab, the most populous and electorally significant province. PTI

Meanwhile, Maryam has rejected an offer for better facilities in jail.

Coming from a rich family, Maryam is entitled to a 'B-Class' jail, which lists facilities like a mattress, table and chair, ceiling fan, 21-inch TV and a newspaper, all at personal cost.

However she refused and her handwritten and signed letter is widely circulated on media. It reads, “I was offered better class facilities by the superintendent of the jail, as per the rules, that I refused of my own will. This is purely my own decision, taken without any pressure from anyone.”

However, her father and her husband Muhammad Safdar applied and got B-Class facilities, according to jail officials.

Sharif is entitled to 'A-Class', being a former prime minister.

Safdar is entitled for B-Class as a former army officer and parliamentarian.

The incarcerated Sharifs also met their family members for the first time on Saturday night. The visitors included Sharif's aged mother, Shamim Akhtar, his brother Shahbaz, Maryam's daughter Meharun Nisa and Shahbaz's son Hamza Shahbaz.

The meeting was arranged in the room of the jail superintendent's room and continued for over two hours. Officials said the meeting was organised after the government give special permission.

Jail authorities have also fixed Thursday as the day for the Sharifs' family to meet them. The normal day to meet prisoners is Friday.

So far no party leader or worker visited them except legal team members to consult and get signatures on the papers to file appeal in the Islamabad High Court which are expected to be filed on Monday.

As Sharfis settled in prison, so far no unusual political activity or unrest has been spotted except the rallies arranged on the day of their arrival on July 13.

However, Shahbaz said on Saturday that all “legal and political” means will be used to get Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law out of the jail.

Analysts see a long legal and political battle ahead and a lot will depend on the outcome of the election on July 25. A poor performance may force Shahbaz, who is president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, to reject the result.

He also said that his party will not accept results if the elections are rigged.

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