“The establishment is suffering from Mazari Phobia,” Shireen Mazari reveals arrest details in latest press conference

PTI leader Shireen Mazari shared details of her recent arrest at a press conference held at the National Press Club in Islamabad. Speaking to media channels, she said:

In the previous government, I was asked to appear at the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) headquarters over a bill about enforced disappearances. I have always taken a position against enforced disappearances. The former government had also drafted a bill in this regard. The former premier Imran Khan wanted the bill to be tabled in parliament and asked the ministries to see whether it came under their business rules.

Sharing details about the missing person bill, Shireen Mazari stated:

That evening I got a phone call asking me to appear at the ISI headquarters. I went, and I said that we had signed international conventions. After the bill was tabled in the National Assembly, it was referred to the interior committee, where “invisible shadows” tried to change the clauses. The assembly passed the amendments, regretting that they “disappeared” on the way to the Senate. My position is very clear regarding enforced disappearances. Imran had also voiced his opposition from the beginning. He always used to go to Amna Janjua’s protests.

The former minister further shared:

We have also taken a position against this in our manifesto and will take the same position in the next one. But you know there are so many powers that stop bills [from being passed]. The journalist protection bill was also passed with “great difficulty”. You don’t know how it was passed, what obstacles we faced. I will reveal all these details if and when I write a book.

It seems like the establishment is suffering from ‘Mazari phobia’

During the press conference, Shireen Mazari also shared details about her recent arrest. Asserting that it was a case of “kidnapping and disappearance”, the former minister alleged:

They dragged me from the car, put me in a white Vigo, and headed towards the motorway. The officials also seized my phone and wallet. I believe the officials were trying to take me “somewhere in Punjab. The officials were looking for a magistrate to complete the documentation as they did not have any grounds to arrest me. My daughter, lawyer Imaan Zainab Hazir-Mazari, was understandably upset over the events and took the name of army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during a press conference. My daughter was upset as her mother had disappeared. She did a press conference where she took the name of General Bajwa and used a certain word. Now petitions and FIRs are being filed, saying she is against the national interest and that it is terrorism.

Explaining why all this is happening, the PTI leader said:

It seems like the establishment is currently suffering from Mazari phobia. The corruption case against me is “political victimization”. I was never informed of the charges or asked to provide clarification, and my name only surfaced during the investigation process. One of my acquaintances, a former official of Punjab’s Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), has advised me to “go easy” on the establishment.

She concluded the statement by saying:

To quote my ACE acquaintance, the official said that sham cases were being created against me. He stopped them when he was in the ACE, saying they were false and should not be pursued. He then received a phone call telling him not to get involved. Why did officials seize my phone following my arrest? The establishment would want information, but the ACE would not have gotten any information from my phone.

Details of the arrest

Punjab’s anti-corruption department took former human rights minister Shireen Mazari into custody in Islamabad. The incident ignited a firestorm of denunciation across the board. Soon after her arrest, her daughter Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir alleged that she had been “beaten and taken away by male police officers”. While admittedly, the entire episode was not captured on camera. A video clip that emerged later showed female police officers pulling the former minister by the arm out of her car after she refused to step out. The timing makes it seem like a clear case of political victimization.

The former minister was arrested based on an FIR in which she has been accused of infringing on a piece of land in Rajanpur district, but the timing of the arrest is suspect. Shireen Mazari has lately been harshly critical of the ruling coalition and the senior military leadership for its declared ‘neutrality’ in the events of the last few months that led to the ouster of the PTI government.

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