Nawaz, Maryam booked on sedition charges

-Citizen files FIR against top PML-N leadership
-States instead treatment, Nawaz busy in conspiracy to defame Pakistan
-Argues Nawaz’s speeches aimed to isolate Pakistan
-Claims Nawaz supports Indian narrative of Pakistan
-PML-N condemns case re

By Uzma Zafar

ISLAMABAD: Punjab police on Monday lodged a complaint against deposed prime minister and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and other party leaders for conspiring” against the state and its institutions.
A citizen, Badar Rasheed, lodged the first information report (FIR) with Shahdara police station under Section 10 (cyberterrorism) of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, and sections 120-A (definition of criminal conspiracy), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war against Pakistan), 123-A (condemning the creation of the country and advocating the abolishment of its sovereignty), 124-A (sedition) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The FIR also names party leaders Rana Sanaullah, Ahsan Iqbal, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pervez Rashid, Marriyum Aurangzeb, and et al that participated in recent meetings of the central executive committee and central working committee of the party. The complainant states that Sharif has several corruption cases against him under trial in the courts. “Instead of availing medical treatment in London, Nawaz is carrying out a planned conspiracy to defame the country and its institutions by making inflammatory speeches.”
It alleges that in the speeches made on Sept 20 and Oct 1, the former premier supported the policies of neighbouring India, so that Pakistan would continue to remain on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list. The complaint observes Sharif’s consecutive addresses come less than three weeks before a virtual meeting of the global terror financing watchdog will decide if Pakistan should be excluded from its grey list. The meeting will be held from Oct 21 to Oct 23.
With the country’s continuation in the grey list, it is increasingly becoming difficult for the government to get financial relief from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the cash-strapped economy.
“The main purpose of Nawaz’s speeches is to isolate Pakistan in front of the international community and to declare it a rogue state,” the FIR says. It adds that Sharif is trying to turn the people against the democratically elected government.
The aim of the speeches is also to divert attention from human rights violations in occupied Kashmir to benefit Sharif’s “friend” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the complainant says.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) reserved its verdict on the maintainability of a plea seeking a ban on Sharif’s speeches. The petition states that the former premier has started actively participating in politics and has initiated a smear campaign against state institutions, after going abroad on the pretext of availing medical treatment.
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, in a statement condemning the registration of the case, said: “Registering treason cases against politicians cannot hide the ineptitude of the government. Instead of addressing unemployment, inflation and poverty, the government is using state machinery to suppress the opposition.”
In a statement, PML-N spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the registration of the case was proof of the fact that the “selected” government was “panicking”.
“Voices fighting for the truth and for the rights [of the people] can’t be suppressed by such false and baseless cases.” She added that political opponents, the media, and those fighting for human rights and democracy were now being labelled as “traitors”. In an interview last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Nawaz Sharif was playing a “dangerous game” by levelling allegations of political interference against the Army and claimed that the former premier had India’s support. “This is a dangerous game Nawaz is playing; Altaf Hussain played the same game,” he had said.