Pakistani authorities arrest son-in-law of ousted premier Sharif

1 / 3
Mohammad Safdar, center, son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif leads a rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Sunday, on July 8, 2018. (ANJUM NAVEED/AP)
2 / 3
Pakistani authorities arrested Captain (Retd) Muhammad Safdar Awan in Rawalpindi on Sunday, July 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy: PML-N media wing)
3 / 3
Captain (Retd) Muhammad Safdar Awan waving hands to party supporters in Rawalpindi on July 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy: PML-N media wing)
Updated 09 July 2018
0

Pakistani authorities arrest son-in-law of ousted premier Sharif

  • Mohammad Safdar went into hiding after an anti-graft court convicted him last Friday
  • Safdar dramatically appeared with hundreds of supporters, marching down the city’s streets Sunday for hours with the crowd growing

KARACHI: Pakistani authorities on Sunday arrested the son-in-law of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was on Friday sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison over a corruption ruling linked to his family’s purchase of luxury flats in London.
Sharif’s daughter Maryam, seen as his chosen political heir, was sentenced to seven years in prison and her husband Muhammad Safdar was given a one-year jail term in a ruling many see as a blow to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party before the July 25 election.
Pakistan’s anti-corruption National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said in a statement that Muhammad Safdar handed himself in. Earlier in the day Safdar and supporters had driven around the garrison city of Rawalpindi holding impromptu rallies, local television showed.
“After continued raids of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at his houses in Abbottabad, Mansehra and Haripur, Captain Safdar decided to surrender before NAB,” NAB said,
NAB also requested media not to air Safdar’s live speeches, saying they are against the law and the code of conduct of the country’s media regulator.
After the verdict on Friday, Safdar said “justice has been massacred” and railed against the judiciary.
Sharif was jailed as the family could not explain how the obtained funds to purchase four luxury flats in London’s exclusive Hyde Park area. Maryam was given a prison term for allegedly providing a forged trust deed, for which Safdar was a witness.
Sharif and his daughter would return to Pakistan on July 13 from London where they are tending to the veteran leader’s wife, Kulsoom, who is being treated for cancer and is in a coma after suffering a heart attack last month.
“We will reach Lahore on July 13,” Maryam told reporters.
Sharif and Maryam will face arrest on arrival in Pakistan just before the election, in which his party is in a tight race with opposition figure Imran Khan’s party.
Both Sharif and Maryam deny wrongdoing and plan to appeal the NAB decision.
Sharif had denounced the court proceedings against him as politically motivated and a judicial witch-hunt, often suggesting the military was to blame.
Pakistan’s military, which has ruled the nuclear-armed country for almost half its history, denies involvement in civilian politics.
Sharif was ousted by the Supreme Court in July 2017 and barred from politics for being “dishonest” by failing to report a monthly income of 10,000 Emirati dirhams ($2,723) from a company owned by his son. He denies drawing the monthly salary.


Sri Lanka troops launch major hunt for militants linked to suicide attacks

Updated 26 min 32 sec ago
0

Sri Lanka troops launch major hunt for militants linked to suicide attacks

  • Several Colombo suburbs were targeted by troops using emergency powers on arrests and detentions adopted after the April 21 attacks
  • Security forces have arrested scores of suspects in connection with the bombings and over what appeared to be organized violence against the island’s Muslim minority

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s military launched a major hunt Saturday for remnants of an militant group which carried out the Easter suicide bombings that killed 258 people, officials said.
Several Colombo suburbs were targeted by troops using emergency powers on arrests and detentions adopted after the April 21 attacks.
“Special cordon-and-search operations are under way in three areas just outside Colombo,” a military official told reporters.
Similar operations were also carried out in the country’s north-west, where anti-Muslim riots this month left one man dead and hundreds of Muslim-owned shops, homes and mosques destroyed.
Security forces have arrested scores of suspects in connection with the bombings and over what appeared to be organized violence against the island’s Muslim minority.
While authorities say the immediate militant threat has been blunted, President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday extended for one month the 30-day state of emergency imposed after the suicide bombings.
Sirisena said the move was to maintain “public security,” with the country still on edge after the attacks on three hotels and three churches that were blamed on a local militant group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ).
The Daesh group has also claimed a role in the attacks.
Christians make up 7.6 percent and Muslims 10 percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka.