Pakistan authorities target Nawaz Sharif's party with anti-terror law days before election

Pakistan authorities target Nawaz Sharif's party with anti-terror law days before election
2 min read
16 July, 2018
Authorities are clamping down on the part of jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, days before elections are due to take place in Pakistan.
Pakistan has witnessed unrest in recent weeks [AFP]

Party leaders linked to former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are being investigated under the country's anti-terror laws, days before national elections are due to take place.

Pakistani authorities have opened criminal investigations into leading Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) officials, after the party ignored a ban on political rallies and staged a march when the former premier returned to the country on 13 July, according to Reuters.

Sharif was jailed on his return following charges of corruption, and it now appears more officials from his party will face legal challenges following the election that are due to take place on 25 July.

"We are taking action against PML-N leaders," caretaker Home Minister of Punjab Shaukat Javed told the news agency. "But no one will be arrested before the elections."

Among those named in police documents is Nawaz brother and PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

According to the papers, they will be investigated under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, along with other ordinary criminal law charges.

Javed did say that the terror charges were a "mistake" and would be amended.

Shehbaz Sharif led thousands of Nawaz supporters at a march in the Punjab city of Lahore last Friday, after the former prime minister and his daughter Maryam landed in Pakistan to face corruption charges. Both were swiftly jailed.

Despite the scandal surrounding Nawaz, analysts expect a close race between the PML-N and Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Sharif's supporters have accused the military - which for decades has shadowed over political life in Pakistan - of orchestrating a witch-hunt against the PML-N, and supporting Khan's PTI.

The military have overthrown a number of Pakistan governments, including Sharif's premiership in 1999.

 

News agencies contributed to this story.