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.


Four more die on Everest as traffic jams blamed for increasing risk

Updated 9 min 14 sec ago
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Four more die on Everest as traffic jams blamed for increasing risk

  • Photo shows dozens of climbers queuing for summit after short window of good weather leads to bottlenecks
  • Two Indians and a Nepali die on the Nepal side and an Austrian on the way down on the northern Tibetan side

KATHMANDU: A traffic jam of climbers in the Everest “death zone” was blamed for two of four new deaths reported Friday, heightening concerns that the drive for profits is trumping safety on the world’s highest peak.
Nepal has issued a record 381 permits costing $11,000 each for the current spring climbing season, bringing in much-needed money for the impoverished Himalayan country.
But a small window of suitable weather before the short season ends has in recent days triggered bottlenecks of hundreds of climbers wanting to achieve for many — although perhaps not for purists — the ultimate in mountaineering.
The four latest deaths reported on Friday, taking the toll from a deadly week on the overcrowded peak to eight, include two Indians and a Nepali on the Nepal side and an Austrian on the way down on the northern Tibetan side, officials and expedition organizers said.
Ang Tsering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said that the weather window to summit this season was narrow, meaning that many teams had to wait to go up.
“Spending a long time above the death zone increases the risk of frostbite, altitude sickness and even death,” he said.
Kalpana Das, 52, reached the summit but died on Thursday afternoon while descending, as a huge number of climbers queued near the top. The other Indian, Nihal Bagwan, 27, also died on his way back from the summit.
“He was stuck in the traffic for more than 12 hours and was exhausted. Sherpa guides carried him down to Camp 4 but he breathed his last there,” said Keshav Paudel of Peak Promotion.
A 33-year-old Nepali guide died at the base camp on Friday after he was rescued from Camp 3 for falling sick.
Wednesday claimed the lives of an American and another Indian.
Donald Lynn Cash, 55, collapsed at the summit as he was taking photographs, while Anjali Kulkarni, also 55, died while descending after reaching the top.
Kulkarni’s expedition organizer, Arun Treks, said heavy traffic at the summit had delayed her descent and caused the tragedy.
“She had to wait for a long time to reach the summit and descend,” said Thupden Sherpa. “She couldn’t move down on her own and died as Sherpa guides brought her down.”
Pasang Tenje Sherpa, of Pioneer Adventure, told AFP that Cash collapsed on the summit and died close to Hillary Step as guides were bringing him back.
Last week, an Indian climber died and an Irish mountaineer went missing after he slipped and fell close to the summit and is presumed dead.
The Irish professor was in the same team as Saray Khumalo, 47, who this week became the first black African woman to climb Everest and who is hoping to conquer the highest summits on each of the seven continents.
Mountaineering in Nepal has become a lucrative business since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first ascent of Everest in 1953.
Most Everest hopefuls are escorted by a Nepali guide, meaning more than 750 climbers were expected to tread the same path to the top in the current season.
At least 140 others have been granted permits to scale Everest from the northern flank in Tibet, according to expedition operators. This could take the total past last year’s record of 807 people reaching the summit.
“About 550 climbers have summited the world tallest mountain by Thursday according to the data provided by expedition organizers to us,” said Mira Acharya, spokeswoman for Nepal’s Tourism Department
Many Himalayan mountains — including Everest — are at peak climbing season, with the window of good weather between late April and the end of May.
Eight other climbers have died on other 8,000-meter Himalayan peaks this season, while two are missing.
In 2015, 18 people were killed at the Everest base camp because of an avalanche triggered by a quake.
In happier news, two Sherpa widows, Furdiki Sherpa and Nima Doma Sherpa reached the summit of Everest on Thursday, their team coordinator confirmed.
The two want to force a rethink about the role of widows in their conservative community, after their husbands died on the world’s highest mountain.
“We want to climb Everest with a message for widows and single women. We are not less than anyone, we are capable of achieving anything,” Nima Doma said in an interview with AFP ahead of the expedition.
French climber Elisabeth Revol, who was dramatically rescued last year from Pakistan’s Mount Nanga Parbat, summited Lhotse Friday morning, a day after reaching the top of Everest.