Corruption references against Sharifs retracted

Nawaz Sharif. (AFP)
Updated 14 September 2017
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Corruption references against Sharifs retracted

ISLAMABAD: Four corruption references filed by the country’s anti-corruption bureau last week against the Sharifs and incumbent Federal Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, were returned on Tuesday from the office of the court’s registrar.
Following scrutiny of the submitted documents, the registrar found incomplete documentation and technical faults in the references.
Arab News has learned today from sources at the anti-graft bureau that they “have completed the documents which were missing and received certified copies from the Supreme Court today,” submitting them to the registrar of the Accountability Court. Sources added that the registrar “accepted one reference of Flagship” (Investment Ltd), an allegedly Sharif-owned offshore company under investigation, “whereas three references have been returned” after minor queries were raised.
The references, which were approved on Sept. 7 by the National Accountability Bureau Chairman, include the highly valued Avenfield properties (Flats No. 16, 16-A, 17, 17-A, Avenfield House, Park Lane) located in London, the establishment of Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Company in Jeddah, and 15 other companies along with Flagship Investment Ltd. The fourth reference, possessing assets beyond known sources of income, is against Dar.
Nawaz Sharif, his three children Hassan, Hussain, Maryam, his son-in-law Capt. (R) Safdar, and Ishaq Dar have refused to appear before the NAB court till their plea petitions, filed with the Apex court, are decided.
However, the former prime minister’s two sons, daughter and son-in-law filed a petition on Monday through their defense counsel pleading for a larger bench of judges to review their pleas as they were dissatisfied with the three-member panel.
“In terms of the legal and constitutional dispensation of the State of Pakistan, a Supreme Court bench of lesser strength cannot upset or pre-empt the decision of a larger bench," they contended.
Since Nawaz Sharif was deposed on July 28, declared “dishonest” by a five-member judicial bench, the applicants’ legal counsel have requested the same panel for their hearing. The plea for a larger bench has been admitted by the Supreme Court.
The Sharifs have questioned the legality of the Supreme Court’s directive to have a Supreme Court judge to supervise the trial court proceedings against the accused. They also filed a plea to have the final order of the court to open graft cases by the NAB suspended pending a final decision on their petitions.


UK firms step up preparations for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit as PM Theresa May meets with EU leaders

Updated 52 min 7 sec ago
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UK firms step up preparations for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit as PM Theresa May meets with EU leaders

  • May is meeting EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday in attempt to get support for Brexit delay
  • The Bank of England warned in November that the British economy could shrink by a massive 8 percent

LONDON: UK companies have ratcheted up their preparations for a disorderly “no-deal” Brexit as best they can over the past couple of months, the Bank of England said on Thursday.
With the prospect of a chaotic Brexit potentially eight days away, a survey by the central bank’s agents showed that around 80 percent of companies “judged themselves ready” for such a scenario, in which the country crashes out of the European Union with no deal and no transition to new trading arrangements with the bloc. That’s up from around 50 percent in an equivalent survey in January.
For decades, trading with the rest of the EU has been seamless. A disorderly Brexit could see the return of tariffs and other restrictions on trade with the EU, Britain’s main export destination.
To prepare, some firms have moved jobs and operations to the EU to continue to benefit from its seamless trade. Many have had to learn how to file customs declarations and adjust labels on goods. Exporters of animals are learning about health checks they will need to comply with.
According to the bank’s survey, however, many of those companies preparing for a “no-deal” Brexit said “there were limits to the degree of readiness that was feasible in the face of the range of possible outcomes in that scenario.”
There’s only so much companies can do, for example, to prepare for new tariffs and exchange rate movements.

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Britain appears headed for a “no-deal” Brexit on March 29 if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to win parliamentary support for her withdrawal agreement with the EU.
She is meeting EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday in an attempt to get support for a delay to the country’s departure date to June 30. EU leaders have said a short extension would have to be conditional on her Brexit plan getting parliamentary backing and have indicated they would only be willing to back a delay to May 22, the day before elections to the European Parliament. After two heavy rejections in parliament, there are doubts as to whether she will be able to get parliamentary approval. What would happen next is uncertain.
European leaders, including those from France and Luxembourg, have said any extension will be granted dependent on May's deal passing a third parliamentary vote.
The Bank of England warned in November that the British economy could shrink by a massive 8 percent within months, though Governor Mark Carney has indicated the recession will be less savage, partly because of heightened preparedness.
According to the minutes of the latest meeting of the bank’s nine-member Monetary Policy Committee, at which the main interest rate was kept at 0.75 percent, rate-setters warned “Brexit uncertainties would continue to affect economic activity looking ahead, most notably business investment.”
Brexit uncertainty has dogged the British economy for nearly three years. In 2018, the economy grew by 1.4 percent, its lowest rate since 2012, even during what was then a global upswing. Business investment was down 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter from the year before.
“Business investment had now fallen in each of the past four quarters as uncertainties relating to Brexit had intensified,” the rate-setters said.
The survey showed uncertainty was likely to remain for months, even years, as Britain works out its long-term relationship with the EU. It said around 60 percent of UK firms in February said Brexit was one of their top three uncertainties, compared with 40 percent just after the June 2016 Brexit referendum.
Around 40 percent of firms expect the uncertainty to be resolved only by the end of 2019 and 20 percent anticipate it persisting into 2021 or beyond.