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Pakistan’s opposition leader arrested on money laundering charges

Security officials escort Shahbaz Sharif (C), Pakistan's opposition leader and brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, at the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court in Lahore on September 29, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Javed Rana
Press TV, Islamabad

These are supporters of Pakistan Muslim League of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and surrounded by this crowd is Shahbaz Sharif, the opposition leader in the Lower House of the parliament and the president of the country’s main opposition party.

Shahbaz was arrested from the premises of the high court in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore after Lahore High Court rejected his previously granted bail.

The court turned down his bail after investigators provided evidence of Shahbaz Sharif’s involvement in an organized money laundering through his employees and close associates.

Shahbaz has denied all charges, saying the assets being probed have no connection to his family.

The opposition called the arrest of Shahbaz a political victimization and witch-hunt campaign against the opponents of the government.

Nawaz Sharif, the thrice elected former prime minister and the elder brother of the leader of the opposition was convicted on money laundering charges and banned to contest general elections by the courts in recent years. Nonetheless, he was allowed to leave Pakistan on medical grounds, which the government says was based on medically manipulated reports as a legal justification only to escape from the country.

The arrest of the leader of the opposition has come over a week after Pakistan’s political opposition formed a new alliance named the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to bring down the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The opposition parties have accused the government of pursing a selective process of accountability and failing to come up with required vigor to hold powerful retired military generals accountable over their alleged involvement in mega corruption scandals, a lingering source of public concern in Pakistan.

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