Tuesday, November 29
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NY Times-listed powerful woman Maryam faces shackles in Pakistan

KARACHI:Maryam Nawaz, who was featured on The New York Times list of 11 Powerful Women Around the World for the year 2017, faces shackles in Pakistan and has even turned ineligible to contest July 25 general elections in view of her punishment and disqualification announced in the Avenfield properties reference verdict.

In December 2017, Maryam was featured on The New York Times list of 11 Powerful Women Around the World for the year 2017, while she was also selected as one of the BBC’s 100 Women in March 2017.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Saturday issued NA-127 and PP-173 party tickets to its alternate candidates in place of Maryam in view of her disqualification. Maryam had filed her nomination papers for a national assembly seat from NA-127 constituency and for a provincial assembly seat from PP-173. The party has now allotted NA-127 ticket to Ali Pervez Malik and PP-173 ticket to Irfan Shafi Khokhar.

The Accountability Court in Islamabad on Friday awarded a 10-year-imprisonment to ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, seven-year to his daughter Maryam Nawaz and one-year to son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar in the Avenfield corruption reference. The court also imposed a fine of eight million pounds on Nawaz and two million pounds on Maryam.

The Avenfield reference pertains to the purchase of four flats by Sharif family in Avenfield House in London, UK.

Earlier today, the Election Commission of Pakistan issued order to halt the printing of ballot papers for NA-127 and NA-14, which were the constituencies of Maryam.

The accountability court had barred Maryam and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar from contesting the general election 2018. Maryam will be disqualified for 10 years from holding public office after her seven-year jail terms ends.

The Election Commission has also stated that Maryam’s name will be removed from the ballot papers of NA-127 Lahore while Captain (retd) Safdar’s name will be removed from NA-14 Mansehra. The National Accountability Bureau’s team left for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today to arrest Capt (retd) Safdar, a day after an accountability court announced a one-year-sentence against him in relation to the Avenfield properties reference. Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar have however decided to file appeal against the Avenfield properties reference verdict.

Maryam Nawaz was born on 28 October 1973 in Lahore. Her married name is Maryam Safdar. She is a Pakistani politician who is the daughter of three-time Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and the three-time First Lady of Pakistan Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif. She was initially involved in the family’s philanthropic organisations. However, in 2012, she entered politics and was put in charge of Nawaz Sharif election campaign during the 2013 general election. In 2013, she was appointed as the Chairperson of the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme.

However, she resigned in 2014 after her appointment was challenged in the Lahore High Court. She is seen as the political heir to her father. In July 2018, she was sentenced to seven years in prison with £2 million fine on corruption charges in Avenfield reference case. In 2012, she began her political career and was put in charge of Nawaz Sharif election campaign during Pakistani general election, 2013, where she reportedly played a prominent role. She was described by Newsweek Pakistan in March 2012 issue as “heir apparent” of Nawaz Sharif and the “presumed future leader” of the PML-N.

In November 2013, she was appointed as the chairperson of Prime Minister’s Youth Programme. However, her appointment was called into question and cited as an example of rampant nepotism by the opposition parties, especially the PTI.