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Former Pakistani PM Abbasi arrested by anti-graft agency

Former Pakistani PM Abbasi arrested by anti-graft agency

Reuters
LAHORE
Pakistan’s anti-corruption agency arrested former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday, prompting opposition accusations that the government was trying to silence criticism.
The National Accountability Bureau said in a statement that Abbasi had been detained in a case that was opened last year over a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project.
The arrest, as Abbasi was on his way to a news conference in the eastern city of Lahore, further roiled a political scene already thick with accusations of corruption and abuse of office with opposition parties planning a day of protest next week.
“The government has buried Pakistan’s economy and (is) now arresting our leaders to divert the masses’ attention from the real issues,” Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistani opposition leader and head of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), told a press briefing in Lahore.
“I believe today is yet another black day in Pakistan’s history,” Ahsan Iqbal, a senior parliamentarian from Abbasi’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, told reporters. Iqbal accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of trying to suppress opposition.
“We are not afraid of your fascist acts. Don’t think that you will gag our voices through such arrests,” he said. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, head of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the other main opposition force, condemned Abbasi’s arrest as what he called part of a government “witchhunt” against elected representatives.
The PML-N was already engaged in a bitter stand-off with Khan’s government, which came to power last year accusing Abbasi and his predecessor, Nawaz Sharif, of large-scale corruption and mismanagement of the economy.

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