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Multiple attempts made to break PML-N in last 2.5 years: Khawaja Asif

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An AFP file image of Khawaja Asif.

ISLAMABAD: Former defence minister Khawaja Asif said Wednesday that there have been many attempts to break the PML-N and weaken its supremo Nawaz Sharif over the last two and a half years.

Khawaja Asif, who was arrested by the anti-graft watchdog late Tuesday night in a case pertaining to acquiring assets beyond means of income, was talking to reporters outside an accountability court in Islamabad.

The PML-N lawmaker said he was “100% sure” that Prime Minister Imran Khan was behind his arrest. 

It may be added here that National Accountability Bureau arrested Khawaja Asif outside fellow PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal’s house in the federal capital where the party had gathered for a meeting. Following the arrest, Maryam Nawaz addressed reporters and said that Khawaja Asif had been told all cases against him would be written off if he stood against Nawaz Sharif.

When a reporter asked Khawaja Asif to elaborate on Maryam’s statement, the lawmaker said: “This is what we are all being told.”

“I was given a charge sheet that assets increased but NAB has not conducted any investigation in the matter. I have been facing this case for over two years, first in Rawalpindi then in Lahore.”

Today’s hearing

Inside the accountability court of judge Mohammad Bashir, NAB prosecutor sought a two-day transit remand.

To which the defence counsel pointed out that travel between Islamabad and Lahore takes only four hours and questioned why the bureau was seeking a two-day transit remand. He also informed the court that the counsel was awaiting grounds of arrest.

It may be noted here that since the case’s jurisdiction is with the accountability court in Lahore, the accountability court in Islamabad could only grant a transit remand.

Taking the rostrum, Khawaja Asif also informed the accountability judge that NAB has not provided grounds of arrest yet.

After hearing both sides, judge Mohammad Bashir granted a one-day transit remand and directed NAB to provide Khawaja Asif and his counsel grounds of arrest.

“In view of the distance between Islamabad and Lahore, transit remand is granted subject to medical fitness as such as the Investigating Officer (IO) is directed to produce the accused before concerned accountability on or before December 31 [Thursday]”.

Punjab Assembly

In Lahore, a resolution was submitted to the Punjab Assembly condemning Khawaja Asif’s arrest. Filed by PML-N leader Hina Pervez Butt, the resolution said Khawaja Asif is a democrat and a supporter of the supremacy of the Constitution. 

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