Arrest warrant issued for deposed Pakistan prime minister

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (AP/BK Bangash)
Updated 26 October 2017
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Arrest warrant issued for deposed Pakistan prime minister

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s accountability court issued an arrest warrant on Thursday for deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“The accountability court issued bailable warrants for the former prime minister in two cases of alleged corruption today and adjourned (the) hearing until Nov. 3,” one of his defense lawyers, Zafir Khan, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Sharif and his family members face three cases of alleged corruption filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to be heard in the court.
He was required to appear in the court for legal proceedings, but did not return to Pakistan in time. Sharif’s two sons, also charged in the same case, were also absent.
But his daughter Maryam Nawaz, considered his heir apparent, and her husband Mohammed Safdar — both charged in the same case as Sharif — were present in the courtroom.
Sharif, who has been indicted in three corruption cases for concealing assets abroad, has skipped several court hearings so far.
Under Pakistani law, he can be arrested as soon as he returns from abroad unless he is granted bail before the next hearing.
Sharif missed the hearing as he is undertaking a religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, Dawn and other English-language newspapers reported.
He had spent previous weeks tending to his wife in London, where she is receiving cancer treatment.
In July, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ousted Sharif from the country’s highest political office after his family faced an investigation into financial misconduct.
The family’s luxury property portfolio in London created a media frenzy and led to his political opponents demanding accountability.
Maryam says evidence against her family is being fabricated, and Sharif has been accused of many things in the past but never proven guilty.
The family has called the corruption proceedings a conspiracy, hinting at intervention by the powerful military.
But opponents have hailed it as a rare example of the rich and powerful being held accountable. The army denies playing a role.
Dawn quoted Maryam as saying outside the court: “We are going through a time in Pakistan where speaking up against injustice is called contempt of court and speaking up for the nation is called treason, but I still believe that we will be victorious.”
Senior Supreme Court advocate and legal analyst Ahmed Raza Kasuri told Arab News: “The court rejected Sharif’s exemption from appearance in court, and though the (arrest) warrants are bailable, if he’s a no-show at the next hearing the court will issue unbailable warrants.”
Maryam said former President Pervez Musharraf was declared an absconder by the court as he chose not to face treason charges filed against him, but the authorities never brought him to justice. The authority she referred to is her own father’s ruling party.
Sharif has faced similar challenges in the past. In 1993 he was sacked from his first term as premier for corruption, and in 1999 he was sentenced to life in prison after his second term in office ended with a military putsch.
He was allowed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia, returning in 2007 before becoming prime minister for a third time in 2013.


UN team to investigate ‘horrific’ massacre in central Mali

Updated 26 March 2019
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UN team to investigate ‘horrific’ massacre in central Mali

  • UN human rights office spokeswoman says the massacre in Ogossagou, in Mali’s Mopti region, mostly targeted people from the ethnic Fulani, or Peuhl, community

GENEVA: The United Nations is deploying crime-scene investigators, human rights officers and a child protection expert to central Mali to investigate intercommunal violence over the weekend that killed more than 150 people, one-third of them children.
Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani of the UN human rights office says the massacre in Ogossagou, in Mali’s Mopti region, mostly targeted people from the ethnic Fulani, or Peuhl, community.
She said Tuesday the “horrific attacks” signal a “spike in killings” in a cycle of violence in the region that has caused 600 deaths and displaced thousands since last March.
Shamdasani said the attacks appeared to be motivated by an effort to eliminate violent Islamic extremist groups active in Mali, but that “millions of people are being painted as violent extremists simply because they are Muslim.”