Pakistan Court Orders Release Of Ex-Prime Minister.

File Photo of Court Gavel

 

 

 

A Pakistani court on Wednesday ordered the release of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, suspending their prison sentences for corruption pending an appeal hearing, his lawyer said.

“Today, the Islamabad High Court has suspended the verdict against Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and his son-in-law Captain Safdar and ordered to release them on bail until a final decision,” lawyer Khawaja Haris told AFP.

They will be released after the payment of sureties of 500,000 rupees ($4,024), he said.

It was not clear when the appeal will be heard. The anti-graft watchdog has the right to go to the Supreme Court to contest Wednesday’s bail ruling.

Dozens of jubilant supporters chanted “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif!” outside the court after the decision was announced.

The Supreme Court ousted Sharif from office last year for alleged corruption.

An anti-corruption court in July this year sentenced them in absentia to 10 and seven years respectively over properties they allegedly owned in Britain, following revelations in the Panama Papers.

Sharif and his daughter were arrested on their return to the country that month to campaign in elections.

Sharif claims he is being targeted by the country’s powerful security establishment. His Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party lost the election on July 25 to the rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led by former cricket hero Imran Khan.

“Today the court has suspended the decision that was based on revenge,” former minister Ahsan Iqbal told reporters.

“This trial is important because even a blind person in Pakistan will see that there was neither law nor constitution in the decision and it was just pre-poll rigging to pave the way for Imran Khan to win elections,” he said.

Shahbaz Sharif, Nawaz’s younger brother who headed the PML-N after his sibling’s imprisonment, tweeted a verse from the Koran in Arabic that said: “Truth has come and falsehood has departed.”

Sharif’s wife died in a London hospital earlier this month and he along with his daughter and son-in-law were granted parole to attend her funeral.

– ‘Political victory’ –

“The verdict is a political victory for Nawaz Sharif and he will use it to further assert his narrative that his imprisonment was a political move,” political analyst Hassan Askari told AFP.

He said Nawaz’s elder brother Shahbaz lacks the charisma and political support enjoyed by his elder brother.

“The release of Nawaz means he will further mobilize his party and other opposition parties against the government,” Askari added.

Sharif, now 68, has been prime minister three times but power has been a rough ride.

He was expelled from office in 1993 on suspicion of corruption. He won an election in 1997, only to be ousted and exiled after a military coup in 1999.

Nawaz returned to Pakistan in 2007 and took power once more in 2013, only to be ousted by the Supreme Court in July last year.

AFP

Pakistan Returns Ex-PM Sharif To Jail

Former Pakistani PM, Nawaz Sharif

 

Pakistan’s jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was moved back to prison from the hospital on Tuesday evening after doctors signalled an improvement in his health, a minister said.

Sharif was shifted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences(PIMS) in Islamabad two days ago after he reportedly fell sick inside the prison.

Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were jailed on July 13 after a court sentenced them to 10 and seven years respectively over properties in Britain which emerged in the wake of Panama Papers revelations.

“The former Prime Minister is being shifted back to Adiala jail after doctors so advised,” Shaukat Javed, the caretaker home minister for Punjab province, told AFP.

He said Shari wanted to go back to jail in Rawalpindi because he was unable to carry out his daily walk, adding that the former PM had been taken to hospital “against his will”.

Sharif, who claims he is being targeted by the country’s powerful security establishment, is fighting for his political life after his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party lost an election last Wednesday to rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led by former cricket hero Imran Khan.

His brother Shahbaz, who heads the party now, has rejected election results along with other parties who have demanded fresh elections and announced they would protest against alleged election rigging.

Khan’s victory represents an end to decades of rotating leadership between the PML-N and the Bhutto dynasty’s Pakistan Peoples Party that was punctuated by periods of military rule.

The powerful army, which is often accused of meddling in political affairs, ruled the country for roughly half its history.

AFP

Supreme Court Bans Ex-Pakistan PM From Elections For Life

Pakistan Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Courtesy: dawn.com

 

Pakistan’s supreme court on Friday banned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from participating in elections for life, as his embattled ruling party prepares for nationwide polls due later this year.

The ruling was the latest in a series of blows to Sharif who was ousted from the premiership over graft allegations last July.

Supreme Court Justice Umar Ata Bandial described the ban on Sharif as “permanent” in a judgement read to the court, clarifying the length of an earlier ruling that disqualified the former premier from office.

The decision was immediately panned by Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party (PML-N).

“Today once again, the three-time elected prime minister of Pakistan has been disqualified for life,” state minister and Sharif ally Marriyum Aurangzeb told reporters outside the court.

Last month, Nawaz’s brother Shahbaz Sharif formally took charge of the PML-N after an earlier court ruling banned the former premier from heading the party.

The Sharifs and their supporters have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, suggesting the former prime minister is the victim of a conspiracy driven by Pakistan’s powerful military establishment.

Sharif was the 15th prime minister in Pakistan’s 70-year history — roughly half of it under military rule — to be removed before completing a full term.

The court ruling comes months ahead of expected general elections, pitting the PML-N against its main rival, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party led by former cricket star Imran Khan.

Despite the numerous court rulings against the PML-N, the party has won a string of recent by-elections proving it will likely remain a force in the next polls.

AFP

Pakistan PM’s Family Rejects Findings In Corruption Probe

Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif was fighting for his political future on Tuesday after judicial investigators ruled his family had accumulated unusual wealth, with his allies denouncing the findings and vowing he would clear his name.

A Joint Investigation Team (JIT), set up by the Supreme Court to investigate corruption allegations that surfaced following the Panama Papers leak, spent two months looking into the family’s wealth and gave its finding to the court on Monday, July 10.

In their report, which has been leaked to media, the team alleges Sharif’s family accumulated wealth far above its earnings, and says his children, including heir-apparent Maryam Sharif, signed falsified documents designed to mask the truth.

Sharif’s allies dismissed all the allegations against him and the report.

Opposition leader, Imran Khan said Sharif had “lost all moral authority” and must resign immediately.

Taliban Group Claims Lahore Park Attack

Pakistan crisisPakistani authorities hunted on Monday for breakaway Taliban militants who once declared loyalty to Islamic State (ISIS) after the group claimed responsibility for an Easter suicide bomb targeting Christians, that killed at least 70 people.

The attack on Sunday evening in a busy park in the eastern city of Lahore, the powerbase of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, killed mostly women and children enjoying an Easter weekend outing.

Pakistan is a majority-Muslim state but has a Christian population of more than two million.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said it had targeted Christians celebrating Easter, though police have said they are still investigating the claim.

There were scenes of carnage, as parents searched for children amid the debris.

Pakistan’s President condemned the attack, and the regional government has announced three days of mourning.

At least 300 people were injured, with officials saying they expected the death toll to rise.

Lahore is the capital of Pakistan’s richest province, Punjab, and is seen as the country’s political and cultural heartland.

The bombing of the amusement park on Easter Sunday was the bloodiest attack on Christians in Pakistan since the 2013 Peshawar church bombing that killed more than 80 people.

But many believe there may be a wider context to the latest attack – 27 March was the deadline set by an alliance of more than 30 religious groups for the provincial government of Punjab to withdraw a new women’s rights law they oppose.

Gunmen Attack India Air Force Base

gunmenAt least four gunmen have been killed in an overnight attack on an Indian air force base.

Officials said that two soldiers at the Pathankot base were also killed in a gun battle lasting several hours.

Operations at the base continued with some reports saying gunmen were holed up in the base.

The incident came days after the Indian and Pakistani leaders, Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif met in Lahore to launch a surprise peace initiative.

The whole of India’s Punjab state has been placed on alert.

The base is on the main highway leading to Indian-administered Kashmir.

In August, seven people were killed in a similar attack when gunmen stormed a police station in nearby Gurdaspur district.

The three attackers in Gurdaspur were killed after a 12-hour standoff with police.

Pathankot air force base is about 430km (270 miles) north of the Indian capital, Delhi and is on the road linking Indian-administered Kashmir with the rest of the country.

Indian-administered Kashmir has seen a long-running insurgency against rule from Delhi, and Kashmir has been a flashpoint in relations between Pakistan and India for nearly 70 years since independence.

Pakistan In National Mourning As Peshawar Buries School Children

PakistanThe city of Peshawar, Pakistan is in mourning as 132 children and nine staff are being buried,  following a Tabliban attack on a school.

Gunmen had walked from class to class shooting students in what has been described as the Pakistani Taliban’s worst attack in history.

Flags are flying at half-mast across Pakistan as the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif has declared three days of mourning over the massacre, which has sparked national outrage.

Sharif has also called a multi-party conference in Peshawar on Wednesday to discuss the state’s response to the attack, the worst in Pakistan’s recent history, which will be attended by leaders across the political spectrum.

He also announced an end to the moratorium on the death penalty for terrorism cases.

In its defense, the Pakistani Taliban, which had claimed responsibility for the attack, issued a statement saying only the adult sons of military personnel and members of the military had been killed in the raid, noting that the raid was a revenge on children who been killed during military operations in tribal areas.

According to the army, Tuesday’s attack was carried out by seven Taliban attackers, all wearing bomb vests.
They cut through a wire fence to enter the school from the rear and attacked an auditorium where children were taking exams.

Most of the younger pupils escaped, as the older students were deliberately targeted in the attack.

Nine Killed In Pakistan Second Attack

At least nine people were killed when gunmen opened fire outside a mosque in the second attack in Quetta in south-west Pakistan in as many days.

About 20 others were wounded in the attack, which came as worshippers left the Sunni Muslim mosque after sunrise prayers for the Eid al-Fitr festival. Bullets hit the car of Ali Madad Jatak, a former Pakistan People’s Party provincial minister, but he was unhurt.

On Thursday dozens of people died in a suicide bomb blast in Quetta. In the latest attack, four unidentified men opened fire on the former minister as prayers came to a close.

“They fled after killing innocent people,” Mr Jatak, former Balochistan minister said. “I was the target. They could have fired at me. They killed innocent worshippers belonging to different communities. This is against humanity. It is brutality on the level of animals.”

Mr Jatak held a ministerial role in the Balochistan provincial government, as a representative of the PPP, which headed the last national coalition government. Four people died at the scene while the others succumbed to their injuries in hospital, a senior local police official, Bashir Ahmad Brohi told the AFP news agency.

“When people came outside on the stairs, the terrorists were already present there,” Mohammad Adnan, a witness, told the Associated Press news agency. “They started shooting and targeting many people. Two children were among the martyrs and around 20 people were injured.”

No group has said it carried out the shooting, which took place near Quetta’s eastern bypass.Quetta has seen a recent surge in sectarian violence, mostly targeting the Shia Muslim minority.

Quetta is the provincial capital of Balochistan, which is plagued not just by the Taliban’s insurgency, but also by sectarian in-fighting between Sunnis and Shias and a rebellion by Baloch separatists.

On Tuesday militants from the separatist Baloch Liberation Army shot dead 13 bus passengers 70 kilometres (44 miles) south-east of Quetta.

The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to power in June after promising to negotiate with militant groups.

Officials said they were preparing a comprehensive security strategy, bringing together delegates from all political parties, in an effort to combat violent extremism.

However the strategy has not yet been released, and no all-party meeting has yet been scheduled.