Pakistan authorities arrest former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

Pakistani authorities arrested former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Thursday on corruption charges in what appears to be a continued crackdown on the nation’s ex-legislators under its National Accountability Bureau.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, shown here leaving a Pakistani court in March, was arrested on corruption charges Thursday. File Photo by T. Mughal

The Pakistan Muslim League party secretary-general Ahsan Iqbal said police arrested Abbasi after he entered the city of Lahore, armed with a warrant.

“We were coming together to Lahore for a party meeting and press conference,” Iqbal said, Al Jazeera reported. “They stopped us on the way, and there was a heavy contingent of police and [paramilitary] Rangers there.”

Party president Shehbaz Sharif claimed the NAB was being used for political reasons.

Last month, authorities arrested former Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, on corruption charges. Zardari was serving as co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party.

Zardari was targeted following a 2015 investigation by the Federal Investigation Agency into allegations that phony accounts were used to bundle illegal money and launder it overseas.

“Another elected prime minister has been arrested. Will anyone else coming to power by vote also face the same lawlessness, humiliation, and injustice,” tweeted Maryam Nawaz Sharif, a politician and daughter of three-time Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison last December on corruption-related charges shortly after he was released on bail in another case.

ByClyde Hughes