Ousted Pakistan PM terms Panama-gate verdict ‘contempt of public mandate’

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Ousted Pakistan PM terms Panama-gate verdict ‘contempt of public mandate’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said that the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers corruption case against him showed “contempt” for the public mandate.
Talking to reporters outside the court conducting corruption proceedings against him, he said that prominent lawyers and legal experts had described the case — and subsequent Supreme Court judgment — as weak.
“Now voices are being raised from inside and outside the Supreme Court,” he said. He was referring to remarks made by Justice Qazi Faiz Isa on Tuesday in the Supreme Court. Isa noted that although the Panama Papers case involved Sharif family’s London flats, the former premier was disqualified from office last year for holding a UAE iqama or residence permit.
Last month, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered that Nawaz Sharif be removed as head of the political party he founded, six months after the Supreme Court had disqualified him from office.
Now the three-times former prime minister has used the judge’s remarks to back up his claim that last year's Supreme Court verdict was flawed.
“I was disqualified for not taking a salary from my son,” he said. “The judgment is not right in my and the nation’s opinion.”
Sharif said that his disqualification from office was contempt of the people of Pakistan. “Where should these people go to file a contempt case?” he asked, challenging the judges to see whether the people accept their verdicts.
“There is a need to review why such judgments are delivered,” he said. Sharif added that such decisions resulted in “aftershocks” that were “impossible” to control.
However, senior advocate Sharafat Ali told Arab News: “A politician can try to build his political case on the basis of remarks of the judges, but, in reality, this will have zero impact on legal proceedings in the court of law.”
As for the Supreme Judicial Council, he said if the former premier filed a case against a Supreme Court judge it would have “serious political repercussions for his party.”
“Filing a complaint with the Supreme Judicial Council against any judge could turn into a movement against the ruling party (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the party Nawaz Sharif led), so they won’t be advised to do it,” he said.
“The best recourse available to Nawaz Sharif is to fight his cases in the courts, despite all the reservations,” he said.
Professor Tahir Malik, a political analyst, said Nawaz Sharif and his family could get rid of all corruption cases against them by producing documentary evidence to prove that they bought their foreign properties with legitimate money.
“Nawaz Sharif’s rhetoric against (the) judiciary will lose (its) appeal to the public if he fails to present evidence of his innocence anytime soon,” he told Arab News.


Sri Lanka’s former PM Wickremesinghe to return to post

Updated 21 min 59 sec ago
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Sri Lanka’s former PM Wickremesinghe to return to post

  • The South Asian island country had plunged into instability after President Maithripala Sirisena replaced Wickremesinghe with Mahinda Rajapaksa
  • An official at the president’s office confirmed Wickremesinghe’s oath taking

COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will return to the post on Sunday, a lawmaker from his party and a source at the president’s office said, likely ending a political crisis that began in late October when he was ousted in a surprise decision.
The South Asian island country had plunged into instability after President Maithripala Sirisena replaced Wickremesinghe with Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was then twice sacked by parliament. Rajapaksa resigned on Saturday as a government shutdown loomed.
“He (Wickremesinghe) will take oath at an auspicious time today morning,” Rajitha Senaratne, a cabinet spokesman under Wickremesinghe’s former government, told Reuters.
An official at the president’s office confirmed Wickremesinghe’s oath taking.