LAHORE   -  Reiterating demand for the immediate release of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif , Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz has said there is no reason for keeping him behind the bars now when the accountability judge who had given the verdict under ‘pressure’ had been removed.

Addressing a press conference here at PML-N secretariat in Model Town on Wednesday, she said that seven-year sentence in Al-Azizia reference must be declared “null and void”.

Flanked by Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, Javed Hashmi and Azma Zahid Bukhari, Maryam rejected the option of a re-trial in the case, and questioned that who would guarantee that those who had blackmailed judge Arshad Malik wouldn’t do the same again? She regretted that the ‘verdict under pressure’ had not been quashed even after the production of evidence in the shape of a video. She said that the judge should be asked as to why he had alleged he was offered bribe after the release of video. “I have more evidence. Right now I am exercising restraint,” she said, adding the video was genuine that could be verified from Punjab Forensic Lab.

Expressing concern over the health of Nawaz Sharif , Maryam accused the government of playing with his life. “Nawaz is in the custody of enemies who are playing with his life. I can smell something very dangerous and evil,” PML-N vice president said, and added, “He is not being allowed food from home. I don’t know what is being given to him to eat. I cannot expect sympathy from those acting as enemies; who have refused to send him to the hospital despite requests from his doctors. They can’t be trusted for his food and medicines,” she said, and added the court was the ultimate option for getting a relief.

To a question, she said she would try to bring to the notice of international organisations what she alleged victimization of a man who thrice remained country’s prime minister at the hands of government.

Recalling her meeting with Nawaz Sharif on July 18, Maryam said the jail doctor did not allow her to see her father’s medical reports. But when she saw reports after much resistance by the doctor, she learnt that Nawaz’s sugar had consistently been high but was not hospitalized despite family doctor’s strong recommendations. “The jail doctor did not reply when he was asked as to why the report of July 3 was not shown so far,” she said, and added she was not even given a proper reply when she asked why she and her family members were not informed that her father had angina, high blood pressure, high sugar and poor functioning of kidneys. She said it was a criminal negligence.

She accused the jail staff of refusing to give her the copy of a medical report on the pretext that the photocopy machine was out of order. “When Nawaz Sharif suggested that the family doctor should accompany the jail staff to a nearby market to have it photocopied, the jail staff replied that they would provide the copy later,” Maryam said.

She said when she went to office in-charge to ask for the copy, he said he would send it to her residence. However, a “sympathizer” in the Punjab government ultimately sent her a copy.

She said that the family had not been informed about a medical board constituted for dealing with any emergency with Nawaz Sharif .