Pak court extends ex-President Musharraf’s remand by 14 days

Updated 05 May 2013
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Pak court extends ex-President Musharraf’s remand by 14 days

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani anti-terrorism court yesterday ordered former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to remain in custody for a further two weeks ahead of his trial for unlawfully sacking judges during his rule, officials said.
“Pervez Musharraf’s remand is extended for judicial lock-up for 14 days, he should be presented before the court on May 18,” Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi, ordered.
Police had asked the judge to grant the custodial extension saying the investigation into Musharraf’s activities was still under way.
Lawyers for Musharraf, who is locked in his own home, which has been declared a sub-jail while he is awaiting trial, filed a bail application in the court and the judge fixed a hearing for May 6.
The court was also asked if Musharraf’s trial could be held inside his plush villa, citing security reasons, but the matter was left pending.
“It has been brought into my notice that the Chief Commissioner of Islamabad issued a notification for the jail trial, but approval from Islamabad high court is needed in this regard,” the judge said.
Musharraf was placed in police custody at his home following his arrest on April 19, in an unprecedented move against a former army chief of staff ahead of key elections.
He was arrested for making a decision to sack judges when he imposed emergency rule in November 2007 — a move that hastened his downfall.
He also faces charges of conspiracy to murder opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and over the death of a rebel leader during a 2006 military operation.
However, his party on Friday announced it will boycott next week’s historic election after a court on Tuesday banned him from standing for the rest of his life.
Officials visit prisoner in India
Pakistani embassy officials visited a hospital in north India yesterday where a Pakistani prisoner was in critical condition in the intensive care unit after being attacked by an Indian inmate.
Convicted murderer Sanaullah Ranjay suffered multiple head injuries in a prison in India’s northern city of Jammu in an apparent tit-for-tat attack after an Indian prisoner, Sarabjit Singh, was fatally assaulted in Pakistan.
On Friday, Ranjay was airlifted to a government hospital in the city of Chandigarh, 250 km north of New Delhi.
A spokeswoman for the government hospital said Ranjay was in the intensive care unit and on a ventilator as his condition “continues to remain critical.” The Pakistani High Commission (embassy) officials “came to the hospital and we have given them Ranjay’s medical update,” added Manju Wadwalkar, the spokeswoman of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Hospital.
Ranjay, who hails from the city of Sialkot in Pakistan, was attacked by a prisoner who was identified as a former Indian army soldier nearly 24 hours after Singh’s death in Lahore.
India’s foreign ministry said Pakistan High Commission officials had been given daily access to Ranjay.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said earlier in the week in a statement that the “obvious retaliation to the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh is condemnable.”


‘Price of democracy’: Afghans risking their lives to vote

Updated 2 min 57 sec ago
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‘Price of democracy’: Afghans risking their lives to vote

  • Nearly nine million people have registered to vote, but far fewer are expected to turn out on polling day
  • ‘If my vote can bring these changes I will take any risk. I will either die or vote’
KABUL: From a university student to a middle-aged housewife, Afghans planning to vote in the October 20 parliamentary election say they are willing to risk their lives for democracy.
Nearly nine million people have registered to vote, but far fewer are expected to turn out on polling day due to threats of violence and expectations for massive fraud.
Six people across the war-torn country explain why their vote matters.
Out with the old and in with the new is Omaid Sharifi’s hope for the legislative election.
The 32-year-old artist, who is voting for the first time, wants to see a new generation of politicians take their seats in the next parliament.
Sharifi, co-founder of Kabul-based street art collective ArtLords, was inspired to vote by the large cohort of young, educated candidates among the more than 2,500 contesting the ballot.
“I am concerned (about security) but I think this is the price of democracy we have to pay,” he said.
First-time voter Fatima Sadeqi wants to stop criminals, thieves and corrupt people from entering the next parliament.
The 55-year-old housewife and her eight family members plan to support the same candidate in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
“We are tired of poverty and insecurity,” she said.
“I hope the new parliament is a better place, full of good people.”
Shirin Agha wants his 10 children to grow up in a peaceful Afghanistan — and he is willing to die to help make that happen.
The 45-year-old potter in the eastern city of Jalalabad is a first-time voter and plans to back “a good Muslim and an honest person.”
“I want the new parliament to bring fundamental changes to the economy, education and security so that our children can live in peace,” Agha said.
“If my vote can bring these changes I will take any risk. I will either die or vote.”
A sense of “duty and responsibility” is pushing English literature student Zahra Faramarz to vote — but she admits being “anxious” about security.
Faramarz’s polling station is located in a heavily Shiite neighborhood of Kabul where the Daesh group has carried out devastating attacks in recent months.
But the 21-year-old said it was important to vote to ensure her community has a voice in the lower house.
“If we don’t, someone else will select the candidates ... that is not good for us,” she said.
After disappointing results in the previous two elections, Ghulam Farooq Adil hopes it will be third time lucky on October 20.
The 29-year-old public servant from the western city of Herat plans to vote for an “honest” candidate who can help bring peace to Afghanistan.
“I want the new parliament to come up with a solid plan to end the war,” Adil said.
“I need to see changes, at least for the future of my son.”
Abdul Karim believes voting is a religious obligation for Muslim men and women.
“They must vote,” said the 85-year-old retiree in Kabul, who is voting for only the second time in his life.
But in return, the next parliament should “serve our nation, serve our land and provide” job opportunities for the poor, he said.
“We vote for Afghanistan and we expect our incoming MPs to make solid decisions for our nation’s well-being.”