Court issues new notices to Sharif, aide in treason case

Nawaz Sharif. (AFP)
Updated 01 July 2018
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Court issues new notices to Sharif, aide in treason case

  • Every Pakistani has a clear-cut approach regarding relations with India
  • Abbasi is alleged to have leaked the minutes of the meeting to Sharif, his party’s chief

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has issued fresh notices to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and journalist Cyril Almeida after they failed to appear in the court on Friday.
A petition was filed on Monday against Sharif, Almeida and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, accusing Sharif of high treason for his remarks about Pakistani involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks in an interview with Almeida.
The remarks led to an emergency meeting of the National Security Council. Abbasi is alleged to have leaked the minutes of the meeting to Sharif, his party’s chief.
The petition read that in doing so, Abbasi breached his oath as he was bound “not to allow his personal interest to influence his official conduct.”
The court had instructed the respondents to file their affidavits by June 29. Abbasi, the only one of the three co-accused present in the court, said he had not received any prior notice.
He said he was on the court premises to contest his ineligibility to take part in the upcoming election when he learned of the treason case from TV channels, and appeared before the court as he believes in the supremacy of the law.
Raja Zafarul Haq, chairman of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), told Arab News: “Every Pakistani has a clear-cut approach regarding relations with India. Sharif has the same point of view that Pakistan’s security establishment has. He could never imagine harming the national cause and interest.”
But advocate Azhar Siddique told Arab News that Sharif “committed sedition” with his remarks, and should face action under the constitution and Pakistan’s penal code. The court has adjourned the hearing until Sept. 10.


Duterte skips summit meetings but is in ‘top shape’

Updated 19 min 10 sec ago
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Duterte skips summit meetings but is in ‘top shape’

  • An official named four scheduled events that Duterte had not attended on Wednesday, during which the president “took power naps” to catch up on sleep
  • Duterte’s health has been a constant source of speculation since he disappeared from public view for a week last year

SINGAPORE: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte skipped several meetings at an Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore on Wednesday, prompting the 73-year-old’s office to issue a statement scotching speculation that it was due to ill health.
“We assure the nation that his aforementioned absence has nothing to do with his physical health and wellbeing which have been the subject of speculation,” spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“The president’s constantly punishing work schedule is proof that he is in top physical shape.”
Panelo named four scheduled events that Duterte had not attended on Wednesday, during which the president “took power naps” to catch up on sleep, and said he would also skip a gala dinner with the leaders of nine Southeast Asian nations, US Vice President Mike Pence and several others.
Duterte’s health has been a constant source of speculation since he disappeared from public view for a week last year, and he has said openly that he is tired and would like to step down before the end of his term ends in 2022.
Last month Duterte’s office revealed that he had undergone a colonoscopy and he told reporters that a biopsy had shown he did not have cancer.
The constitution provides for the public to be told of the state of health of an incumbent president, if serious.
If a sitting president dies, is permanently disabled or removed through impeachment, the vice president succeeds to serve the remaining years in a six-year, single term.
Vice President Leni Robredo, a leader of the opposition, was elected separately in 2016. Speculation about Duterte’s health last month prompted concern that the Philippines could be headed for uncertainty given the highly polarized political climate.
Duterte has cited Robredo’s “incompetence” as a reason for his inability to quit as president.
Duterte has a record of skipping summit sessions, though he did not miss any as host when the Philippines held the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last year.
Panelo said it was “amusing that some quarters are making a big fuss” of Duterte’s absences, noting that he had attended ASEAN meetings with leaders from China, Japan and Russia.
“Last night, the president worked late and had only less than three hours of sleep,” he said. “It is unfortunate that the first event scheduled today was at 8:30a.m.”
Duterte is known for having an unorthodox working schedule that typically starts mid-afternoon and includes cabinet meetings that can go on beyond midnight.