Embattled former premier Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar has arrived in Rawalpindi’s Liaquatbagh area where he is expected to surrender to authorities days after being convicted in the Avenfield corruption reference.
PML-N leader Chaudhry Tanveer was quoted by DawnNewsTV as saying that the party’s Rawalpindi leaders kicked off the rally on Sunday from Liaquat Road. During the rally, Safdar will surrender to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he added.
As Safdar called upon PML-N leaders and workers to reach Liaquatbagh to show support, the gathering grew, with a number of vehicles donning PML-N posters surrounding Safdar’s black double-cabin jeep.
Safdar himself came out of the jeep to wave to supporters and briefly address the media gathered at the scene. He is accompanied by PML-N leaders Chaudhry Tanveer, Malik Abrar, Shakeel Awan and others.
Supporters surrounding his vehicle chanted slogans of “Dekho, dekho, kon aya? Sher aya, sher aya” (look who is here, the lion is here), “Respect the vote“, and “Go on Nawaz Sharif, we are with you“.
According to DawnNewsTV, Safdar said he wishes to surrender in front of party leader Shahbaz Sharif.
“Today we have to decide how the country will be run,” Safdar told the media. “I am surrendering myself in order to set a foundation for the basis of democracy. Nawaz Sharif is fighting for the 220 million people of this country, side with him,” he added.
‘Honour demands that I surrender’
Earlier today, in an audio message sent to journalists by the PML-N’s media cell, Capt Safdar said he would surrender himself to authorities today because “honour demands it”.
The decision for him to turn himself in, after he was sentenced to one year in jail for abetment in the Avenfield reference, was made by the party’s leadership, he said.
He added that he wished to be arrested in an area other than Mansehra, his hometown, or Hazara Division.
Nawaz, his daughter Maryam, and Safdar were all handed varying jail sentences in the Avenfield corruption reference on Friday. The former premier and his daughter are currently in London, while Safdar is in Pakistan. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
He was to contest the upcoming polls on a National Assembly and provincial assembly seat from Mansehra. In the light of the verdict, both Safdar and his spouse cannot contest elections, while Nawaz has already been disqualified for life by the Supreme Court in Panamagate case.
The National Accountability Bureau on Saturday said that arrest warrants for Safdar had already been obtained, and a team had departed for Mansehra, where he was last seen on Friday, to arrest him.
However, he has remained “underground” and is reportedly looking to consult his lawyer to get a stay order.
The PML-N’s Mansehra President Zafar Mehmood told Dawn earlier that Safdar would either surrender to NAB or avail himself of pre-arrest bail from the court in Lahore on Monday.
Nawaz and Maryam both are set to return to Pakistan on Friday, July 13, exactly one week after their conviction, before expiry of the 10-day time limit set for filing of an appeal against the NAB court’s verdict in the Islamabad High Court.
In a defiant press conference following the announcement of the verdict on Friday, Nawaz vowed to return to Pakistan to face prison, saying that if the punishment for “demanding respect for the vote is jail, I am coming to face it”.
This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters.