August 8, 2019 / 8:50 AM / 9 days ago

Pakistan opposition leader Maryam Nawaz arrested in graft probe

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan’s anti-corruption bureau arrested opposition leader Maryam Nawaz on Thursday, the agency and a spokeswoman for her political party said, the latest high-profile detention of a member of the Sharif political dynasty.

FILE PHOTO: Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former leader of Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) speaks during a news conference in Lahore, Pakistan July 24, 2019. Picture taken July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

The daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was arrested with her cousin, Yousaf Abbas, while attempting to visit her father at a jail in the city of Lahore, where he is being held after being convicted of graft.

“Maryam and Abbas have been arrested in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case,” Azma Bukhari, a spokeswoman for her Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, told Reuters.

She has been given a medical examination, suggesting she would not get bail, Bukhari added.

In a statement, the National Accountability Bureau, the federal anti-corruption force, said, “She will be presented before a court tomorrow,” adding that the arrest related to the sugar mill case.

An NAB team also raided the home of Shahbaz Sharif, the current leader of the opposition, and Maryam’s uncle, in search of another her cousins, Abdul Aziz, an agency official said on condition of anonymity.

The mill is owned by the family, which has dominated the country’s politics for three decades, and says the cases against it are politically motivated.

Maryam is one of the few opposition figures to openly criticize Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan’s powerful military, accusing them in recent weeks of censoring rallies and press conferences held by her party.

Maryam, who led big anti-government rallies across the country, disappeared from Pakistani media after she made public a secretly recorded video.

The video purported to show the judge who had convicted her father in a corruption case saying he was blackmailed into delivering a guilty verdict against Sharif.

Reuters was not independently able to confirm the authenticity of the video.

Khan and the military deny any media ban of the party or that the cases against the family are politically motivated.

Reporting by Mubasher Bukhari in Lahore and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad; Writing by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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