Pakistan Supreme Court rules ousted PM Sharif cannot lead his party

In this file photo, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attends a ceremony to inaugurate the M9 motorway between Karachi and Hyderabad, near Hyderabad, Pakistan on Feb. 3, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 February 2018
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Pakistan Supreme Court rules ousted PM Sharif cannot lead his party

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered on Wednesday that ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif be removed as head of the political party he founded, six months after the court removed him as premier. The ruling could throw into disarray Senate elections due on March 3, with opposition figures saying it invalidates candidates from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) who were nominated by Sharif.
Wednesday’s order overturns a legal amendment by PML-N lawmakers allowing the former premier to lead the party despite being legally banned from holding public office after the Supreme Court disqualified him last July over an undeclared source of income.
“The Election Commission is directed to remove name of Nawaz Sharif as president of PML-N from all official records,” Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said from the bench.
“As a result, all steps taken, all orders passed by Nawaz Sharif are also declared to be as if they had never been taken.”
Faisal Chaudhry, a lawyer for one of the 17 petitioners who sought Sharif’s removal as party head, said the court decision includes Sharif-nominated candidates for the Senate election.
“My understanding is that the candidates can still contest but as independent and not as Nawaz Sharif’s party ticket holders,” Chaudhry said.
Sharif has said his removal from office was part of a political conspiracy against him, and in recent weeks he and his party have waged a war of words against the judiciary.
The PML-N holds a majority in the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, and it has been hopeful of winning control of the Senate in the March 3 election.
Control of both houses could allow the PML-N to change the constitution to make Sharif eligible to hold office again when the party contests general elections due later this year.
Sharif has served as prime minister twice before and each time was removed from office — in 1999 by a military coup and 1993 by presidential order.


Far-right shuts French rapper out of Bataclan attack site

Updated 21 September 2018
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Far-right shuts French rapper out of Bataclan attack site

  • Medine, a Muslim, insists his opponents are trying to divide France
  • The father of an attack victim joined protests against the concerts

PARIS: A popular French Muslim rapper said Friday he is canceling sold-out October concerts at the Bataclan music hall in Paris, a target of the deadly 2015 terror attacks, due to pressure from far-right groups who claim he promotes a radical ideology and is desecrating a now-sacred site.
The statement by Medine came as far-right activists announced plans to try to keep concert-goers from entering the hall for his shows. The father of an attack victim joined them, stressing he was apolitical but wanted action. Patrick Jardin said later that canceling the concert avoided the risk of violence.
Since June, the right and far-right have waged a campaign to shut down Medine’s shows.
The singer said on his verified Facebook and Twitter accounts that the far-right activists’ goal was “to divide” the nation, and “they don’t hesitate to manipulate and reawaken the pain of the families of victims.”
He said he was canceling out of respect for victims’ families and out of concern for fans’ safety. Medine said he would perform, instead, in November at another major Paris music venue.
“It’s a decision of good sense,” said Jardin, the father of Nathalie Jardin, a Bataclan lighting engineer who was among 90 people killed on Nov. 13, 2015, when extremists invaded the music hall, one of several targets that night in which 130 people were killed.
“I think they avoided blood running again at the Bataclan,” he said, noting that “very determined” people were expected to show up ahead of the concerts.
Jardin said he wrote twice to Medine but never received a response from him or from the police chief.
A 2005 album by Medine, “Jihad,” with a picture of the singer with a saber, was posted on social media in June, melded to a poster of his upcoming Bataclan show, spurring rancor and leading some to believe he would sing about jihad, or holy war. Medine has noted the album’s subtitle is “The Biggest Combat is Against Yourself.”
In a 2015 album “Don’t Laik,” evoking French secularism in a play on words, he sings, “Crucify (secularists) like in Golgotha,” or Calvary, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion.
“We can’t allow victims to be assassinated a second time,” said activist Richard Roudier of the League du Midi.