–Daughter of deposed PM claims she’s not involved in any corrupt practices or theft
–Says she’s her father’s strength, not his weakness and will continue to stand by him
ISLAMABAD: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz on Tuesday claimed that she has been “dragged” into the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) references to teach a lesson to the Sharif family and to exert pressure on her father.
Addressing a press conference at Punjab House, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader said that she answered 127 questions handed to her by the accountability court hearing the Avenfield properties reference.
“My name was not mentioned in the April 2016 verdict,” she claimed, adding that the JIT had implicated her in the investigation later.
The Avenfield reference, pertaining to the Sharifs’ London properties, is among the three filed against the family by NAB last year on the Supreme Court’s directives.
During the press conference, Maryam Nawaz read out parts of her statement recorded before the anti-graft court.
“The reason I was dragged into the case was to teach my family a lesson and the mindset behind the corruption allegations was the same that has threatened, harassed and victimised those who had the courage to stand up to injustice and those who have dared to question the rotten, entrenched practice of bringing elected prime ministers to their knees, on one pretext or the other, be it religion, corruption or even ‘ghaddari’ (treason),” she said.
Reading out the second part of her statement, Maryam said, “I, like my father, know why I was named in this case.”
“I am not involved in any corrupt practices or any theft,” she claimed.
She questioned why she has to appear again and again before a joint investigation team (JIT) “formed through WhatsApp calls”, saying, “I have appeared before the court more than 70 times and the case is still going on.”
“I know why I am being kept away from my mother who is suffering from cancer and I also know that in Pakistan’s 70-year history no woman has ever appeared before the court these many times,” she continued.
“My only fault is that I am Nawaz Sharif’s daughter. My only fault is that I like other brave women of this country stand firmly with my father. My only fault is that I think my father is right,” Maryam asserted.
She said, “Nawaz Sharif is the one who refused to surrender before any hardship, who refused to resign when guns were aimed at him, he refused the whole world’s pressure and made Pakistan a nuclear power and he is the one who bravely suffered every atrocity committed against him by Pervez Musharraf.” “They [perpetrators] knew that when a case would be formed against his [Nawaz’s] daughter, she will be dragged to court and any father would succumb to the pressure than watch his daughter go through that,” she said.
However, Maryam asserted, “The people who think like this neither know Nawaz Sharif nor his daughter.”
“My father is struggling for the welfare of the people of Pakistan and to protect their right to vote and democracy,” she said.
“I am my father’s strength, not his weakness,” Maryam said while vowing that she will not let her “father’s head bow down”.
On Monday, while testifying before the accountability court, Maryam Nawaz once again distanced herself from the Avenfield properties as well as the British Virgin Islands offshore companies, Nielsen and Nescoll, that were linked to the former premier’s daughter in the Panama Papers.
Maryam Nawaz claimed that she never took any financial advantage from these companies. Moreover, she shared that she has nothing to do with 25 per cent shares of Gulf Steel Mills, Al-Taufiq case, and settlement worth Rs12 million.
Maryam had said the JIT had framed the Sharif family in the Avenfield reference out of spite.
“Suffice to say, that the JIT in its venom and quest to implicate me has even resorted to concoct and fabricate evidence against me,” Maryam had told the media after Monday’s court hearing.