Imran gunning for ‘NRO’ at clandestine meetings, says Maryam

In LAHORE PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday accused former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan of attempting to seek an “NRO” (a reference to relief in court cases) from the powers that be during “secret meetings” at the Presidency.

During a press conference held hours after receiving her passport from the Lah­ore High Court, Ms Sharif alluded to speculation that Mr Khan had met Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the Presidency last month. The meeting was said to have been brokered by President Arif Alvi.

When asked during a TV interview earlier this week, the PTI chief had neither denied nor confirmed the meeting.

On Tuesday, Ms Sharif was of the view that Imran Khan was making a hue and cry after failing to get any relief from the establishment. “He wants them to sup­port him, and when they don’t he starts targeting them in public,” she remarked.

Furthermore, commenting on the dismissal of the contempt of court show-cause notice against Mr Khan, she said she respected Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for the decision, “but I want to tell the judiciary respectfully that generosity cannot be shown to people like him”.

“Do you realise what you’re encouraging by pardoning such people? After this anyone can bully, abuse or threaten a woman in public gatherings and then apologise, and then you’ll have to forgive them. This means (PML-N leaders) Talal Chaudhry, Daniyal Aziz and Nehal Hashmi should be forgiven, and they should be too because they didn’t do anything, they’re political people. But Imran has been emboldened by this (decision),” she added.

Regarding the return of former premier and her father Nawaz Sharif to the country, she said the way for his return had been cleared (in the wake of a court decision in the Avenfield apartments reference) and it was up to him to decide when to come back.

She said Nawaz Sharif just needed to file an application in the court in this case and his way was clear.

“In the days to come, I will put all efforts into making sure that Imran Khan is sent behind bars for his crimes. I am happy that he is not convicted for contempt as he is facing far more serious allegations of foreign funding, Toshakhana and the cipher plot.”

When asked if the elder Sharif would return along with her in November or December, Ms Sharif said: “I wish he returns with me as I am going to London very soon to see my father and brothers after three years.” She added she also had to undergo surgery for a “rare disease” there. “I will come back after fighting fit.”

Last week, the IHC had acquitted Ms Sharif and her spouse retired Capt Safdar of the charges levelled in the Aven­field apartments reference, setting aside an accountability court’s July 2018 verdict.

According to a PML-N insider, party supremo Nawaz would finalise the plan for his return once he got relief in the Al-Azizia case in which he is facing seven-year imprisonment. “A clean chit in both cases will pave the way for the three-time premier’s return,” he said. Nawaz has been living in self-imposed exile in the UK since Nov 2019.

Maryam also wanted Mr Khan to face similar treatment that was meted out to her and her father.

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