Pakistan’s new Cabinet takes oath after Nawaz Sharif’s removal

Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi speaks to journalists in Islamabad, on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Updated 04 August 2017

Pakistan’s new Cabinet takes oath after Nawaz Sharif’s removal

ISLAMABAD: Forty-three members of new Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s Cabinet were sworn in on Friday by President Mamnoon Hussain.
Abbasi was elected interim prime minister on Aug. 1, winning an unprecedented number of votes in Parliament after then-Prime Minister Mohammed Nawaz Sharif was ordered disqualified on July 28 by Pakistan’s Supreme Court over concealment of assets which he should have declared to the Election Commission of Pakistan when submitting nomination papers for the country’s 2013 elections.
Sources have suggested Abassi could remain in power beyond the 45-day interim period.
With only a few portfolios reshuffled, several members of Sharif’s Cabinet retained their positions.
Siddiqul Farooq, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) and a trusted aide to Sharif, declined to comment on the new Cabinet when contacted by Arab News.
Khawaja Muhammad Asif has been appointed minister for foreign affairs. He was previously defense minister. Following the 2013 elections, Sharif failed to name a foreign minister, and filled the roll himself.
“The decision to appoint (Sharif’s) trusted lieutenant (Asif), will help streamline much of the work at the foreign office,” political analyst Qamar Cheema told Arab News.
He said the appointment of a foreign minister shows a shift in PML-N’s strategy, adding that Sharif kept the vital portfolio to himself to avoid military intervention in foreign affairs.
Cheema concluded that, unlike Sharif, neither Abbasi nor Asif has any grievance with the country’s military.
Elsewhere in the Cabinet, Khurram Dastgir Khan has been appointed defense minister, and his former portfolio as minister for commerce has been handed to Muhammad Pervaiz Malik.
Ishaq Dar, although facing allegations of money laundering and tax evasion, will continue as minister for finance.
Ahsan Iqbal, formerly minister for planning and development, has taken over from Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as minister for interior, while Mushahid Ullah Khan has been given charge of the Ministry of Climate Change.
Prime Minster Abbasi, in his post-election address to Parliament, vowed to improve the country’s situation: "I am the country’s prime minister. If I am here for 45 days, I will do 45 months work in this time.”
He also promised to rid the country of its gun culture, stressing that he will do away with automatic weapons.
“News of Abbasi continuing as prime minister would definitely boost the confidence of people,” Cheema concluded. “This is a good sign, and hopefully detrimental policies will be avoided by this new government.”

Bosnians welcome UN verdict against Karadzic

Updated 21 March 2019

Bosnians welcome UN verdict against Karadzic

  • ‘He should never be allowed to go free,’ Bosnian diplomat tells Arab News
  • Families of victims who traveled to The Hague hailed the verdict

JEDDAH: Former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, widely known as the “Butcher of Bosnia,” has had his sentence for genocide and war crimes increased to life in prison.

He was appealing a 2016 verdict in which he was given a 40-year sentence for the Srebrenica massacre in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the town of Srebrenica by Bosnian-Serb forces in July 1995. Karadzic, 73, was also found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

The UN court said the 40-year sentence did not reflect the trial chamber’s analysis on the “gravity and responsibility for the largest and greatest set of crimes ever attributed to a single person at the ICTY (the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia).”

The ruling by the judges on Wednesday cannot be appealed, and will end one of the highest-profile legal battles stemming from the Balkan wars.

Karadzic showed almost no reaction as presiding Judge Vagn Joensen of Denmark read out the damning judgment.

The former leader is one of the most senior figures tried by The Hague’s war crimes court. His case is considered as key in delivering justice for the victims of the Bosnian conflict, which left more than 100,000 people dead and millions homeless.

Joensen said the trial chamber was wrong to impose a sentence of just 40 years, given what he called the “sheer scale and systematic cruelty” of Karadzic’s crimes. Applause broke out in the public gallery as Joensen passed the new sentence.

Families of victims who traveled to The Hague hailed the verdict. Mothers, some elderly and walking with canes, wept with apparent relief after watching the ruling read on a screen in Srebrenica.

Halim Grabus, a Bosnian-Muslim diplomat based in Geneva, told Arab News that the verdict “will act as a deterrent against the criminals responsible for the genocide of Muslims during the 1992-1995 war. He (Karadzic) should never be allowed to go free. He deserves maximum punishment.”

Grabus was in Bosnia during the war, and witnessed the scorched-earth policy of Karadzic and his fellow generals.

Grabus said it was not possible in today’s world to expect total justice, “but the verdict is important for the victims and survivors of Karadzic’s genocidal politics and ideology of hate.” 

A large majority of Serbs “continue to justify what he did, and continue to carry forward his hateful campaign against Bosnian Muslims,” Grabus added.

“Many of the killers of Muslims during the Bosnian war are still roaming free. They need to be arrested and brought to justice.”

Ratko Mladic, a Bosnian-Serb wartime military commander, is awaiting an appeal judgment of his genocide and war crimes conviction, which earned him a life sentence. Both he and Karadzic were convicted of genocide for their roles in the Srebrenica massacre.