PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Monday strongly criticised the arrest of her uncle and party president Shehbaz Sharif, saying he has been put in cuffs solely for his enduring loyalty towards former prime minister and elder brother Nawaz Sharif. “He is being punished for standing by his brother former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s side,” Maryam told a press conference shortly after opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest. “But, this movement [against the incumbent political setup] will not suffer a setback due to Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest,” she insisted, adding that it will only add fuel to fire. “I don’t have a grain of doubt that Shehbaz Sharif was not arrested for corruption or accountability. A reference against him was ongoing and he was arrested in the middle,” she said, adding that the only reason Shehbaz was arrested was that he ‘has not left his brother’s side’. “He [Shehbaz Sharif] not only stood with his brother but his loyalty to his brother’s cause and the party remained unwavering. His wife has been made an absconder; his son, my brother Hamza, has been sent to jail and no case has been proven against him,” Maryam said. “During the last week, Shehbaz gave two to three statements saying that if they want to arrest him, they can – but [the party] will implement 100% [of the directives] given in Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the APC,” she said, referring to a statement made by the PML-N supremo at the opposition’s multiparty conference last week.“If there is any semblance of justice in Pakistan, then instead of Shehbaz Sharif, Asim Saleem Bajwa should be arrested,” she said, referring to the incumbent CPEC Authority chairman. “Shehbaz Sharif does not own 99 companies or hundreds of franchises. Shehbaz Sharif hails from a business family and his father was a well-known businessman,” she added. Maryam said that Asim Bajwa should, however, be held accountable as he was a salaried employee. She called on NAB to investigate his case. “NAB says it looks at the case and not the face. Has it not seen this case yet?” she asked.Speaking of the ‘brotherhood’ between Shehbaz and Nawaz, Maryam said although Shehbaz personally considers ‘politics of reconciliation’ to be better, “when Nawaz Sharif takes a decision, Shehbaz is the first to implement it.” She said “in the eyes of the people, especially in Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif is not the alternative [to PM Imran Khan] but he is the only choice.” “No one has brought more disrepute to the institutions than” the PTI government, Maryam alleged. “As far as the [MPC] agenda and its implementation is concerned, whether you arrest Shehbaz Sharif or Maryan Nawaz or our PML-N workers, this movement will not be stopped; it will go on and will go on with full passion.” The PML-N leader alleged that pre-poll rigging was being carried out in Gilgit-Baltistan. “Whether the PML-N wins or loses, we won’t let you get away with it so easily. If you want to do [political] engineering and you want to steal these elections then you will have to do it in front of the people’s eyes. You can’t do it secretly so the repercussions of this will be also for you along with the PML-N,” she said.Maryam questioned the government for “smuggling out” former PTI general secretary and close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Jahangir Khan Tareen, when his name came up in the sugar inquiry commission. “When his [Jahangir Tareen] son was called to present himself before the JIT, he said that he cannot come as he is looking after his father,” she said. Referring to the prime minister as a ‘coward’, Maryam said that PM Imran Khan was afraid that Shehbaz would one day be considered a suitable choice to replace him. “In the eyes of the people, especially in the eyes of the people of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif is the only choice,” she said.