LAHORE - Opposition parties have condemned arrest of former president Asif Ali Zardari saying it was not accountability but political-victimisation.

Jamaat-e-Islami, however, contended that accountability should be across the board and not on the basis of liking or disliking.

PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz criticised the move, saying Asif Zardari was regularly appearing before National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and cooperating in investigation.

In a series of tweets, she questioned implementation of law on equal basis. Maryam said there were separate laws for those in power and opponents whether rich or the poor. “Fake Prime Minister Imran Khan used to say there were separate laws for the poor and the rich in Pakistan. The fact is that there is one law for both the rich and the poor but on the other hand there is a separate law for the fake PM, his family and investors,” she said in a tweet.

Maryam said the fake premier had stolen people’s mandate and now his government was arresting political opponents to hide price hike, increase in tariff of electricity and gas and prices of medicines. “This drama would not continue anymore. Come out and see people are cursing you (PM). You would soon be answerable to the people,” one of her tweets reads.

PPP activists stage protest, block roads in Lahore

“When the entire opposition is victimised in fake accountability, the nation looks towards judiciary and honest judges. This is the difference between responsible state and law of jungle,” she said.

PPP’s deputy information secretary Munawar Anjum accused the government of using black law to harass politicians. He said that arresting Asif Zardari and sparing ministers facing NAB cases was discrimination. Munawar said the PPP would never compromise on 18th amendment. He said Asif Zardari had been facing fake cases for decades and he would also come out clean this time around. He said fake accountability and economy could not go side by side. 

Deputy chief of the JI Liaquat Baloch said that Asif Ali Zardari’s arrest was part of the judicial process as he was facing cases of money-laundering. He said that previously, the court had allowed bail to Zardari. But this time, the bail was denied, he said, adding, the government was continuing the policy of likes and dislikes. Baloch said that 436 persons named in the Panama leaks and those getting their huge bank loans written off were not being touched. He said the JI’s principled stance was that there should be no discrimination and an across the board accountability should be carried out for elimination of menace of corruption.

Meanwhile, PPP Lahore chapter on Monday arranged demonstrations at nine places to protest arrest of former president Asif Ali Zardari by National Accountability Bureau.

Hearing the news of PPP Co-Chairman’s arrest after rejection of bail petition by Islamabad High Court, Jialas came out on roads blocking vehicular movement at nine places by burning tyres. Highly charged workers chanted slogans against government and NAB and in favour of PPP leadership. They chanted ‘Ek Zardari Sub Par Bari’ and NAB Gardi Namanzoor’.

PPP demonstrations at Kalima Chowk and outside Gulab Devi Hospital on Ferozepur Road, Faisal Chowk, Garhi Shahu, Multan Chungi, Thokar Niaz Beg, outside Data Darbar, Shalamar Chowk and Shahdara caused huge inconvenience to commuters who had to wait for hours to reach their respective destinations.

Protesters outside Gulab Devi Hospital blocked Metro route that resulted in suspension of bus service from Shahdara to Gaju Matta.

Addressing workers at different places, PPP leaders flayed the move saying it was politically-motivated and aimed at silencing party that was all set to raise issues of price hike and wrong economic policies of the present regime. They said nothing had been proved against Asif Zardari who had already spent 12 years in jail in fake cases. They said NAB would again fail to prove any wrongdoing against Asif Zardari.