Pakistan Cabinet reverses Sharif prison trial decision

Prime Minister Justice (Retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk chairs meeting of the Federal Cabinet at PM office in Islamabad on July 18, 2018. (Source: Press Information Department)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Pakistan Cabinet reverses Sharif prison trial decision

  • The government decided to hold open trial of ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law, who were given jail terms by accountability court on July 6
  • The former ruling family faces two more corruption cases against them

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s caretaker federal Cabinet on Wednesday reversed a decision to hold the trial of convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and political heir-apparent Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar Awan in prison.
The cabinet meeting was chaired by interim Prime Minster Nasirul Mulk.
Sharif is also facing a verdict in the Al Azizia and Flagship Investment corruption cases.
The former premier, his daughter and son-in-law were convicted in the Avenfield case earlier this month and sentenced to a 10, seven and one-year prison term, respectively.
The accountability court also fined the three-times former prime minister £8 million and his daughter £2 million.
The three are being held at the Central Jail Rawalpindi, known as Adiala, a notorious maximum-security prison. Following their complaints about the “abysmal” condition of their holding cells, better facilities were provided.
A member of Sharif’s defense counsel, led by Khawaja Harris, said the Cabinet had taken the decision “under pressure” following accusations of harassment, mistreatment and inadequate jail facilities.
Senior Advocate Sharafat Ali, assisting Sharif’s legal team, told Arab News: “The notification to conduct a jail trial of Nawaz Sharif who appeared over 100 times in the accountability court, was a hasty decision of the interim government.
“Prison trials are held due to high security, often of those involved in terrorist activity. To withdraw from its previous order is a step to do right to a wrong already done.”
The three prisoners filed two petitions in the Islamabad High Court hoping to overturn the verdict and transfer the remaining two corruption cases to another accountability court, but the higher forum on Tuesday adjourned the hearing till after the July 25 general elections.


Communist rebel ambush kills six Philippine troops

Updated 1 min 40 sec ago
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Communist rebel ambush kills six Philippine troops

  • Members of the New People’s Army detonated bombs in a pre-dawn ambush of soldiers
  • The 4,000-strong NPA has waged a guerrilla campaign that has killed up to 40,000 people since 1969

MANILA: Communist insurgents killed six Philippine soldiers and wounded six others on Tuesday, the military said, in one of the deadliest recent attacks in the country’s 50-year-old Maoist insurgency.
Members of the New People’s Army (NPA) detonated bombs in a pre-dawn ambush of soldiers marching through a mountainous area of central Samar island, triggering a four-hour firefight.
“Our troops had received a report that NPA forces were extorting money from residents and so they went there to take action,” said regional military spokesman Captain Reynaldo Aragones.
Rebel casualties had not been determined, but Col. Ramon Zagala confirmed the soldiers’ deaths to AFP.
The 4,000-strong NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has waged a guerrilla campaign that has killed up to 40,000 people since 1969.
It marked the 50th anniversary of its founding in March with an assault on a police station that killed three rebels and wounded two police officers.
NPA units rarely engage large military units in big firefights, preferring to target poorly equipped provincial police forces or isolated military or paramilitary detachments.
Tuesday’s attack was among the deadliest launched by the NPA since mid-2017, when President Rodrigo Duterte called off peace talks with the now 50-year-old insurgency.
That decision followed a series of NPA attacks that killed six police officers and wounded five of the president’s military bodyguards.
Decades of peace efforts have come to naught, despite a burst of optimism when Duterte was elected.
Talks with his government seemed to initially make progress, but then fell apart amid name-calling and threats from both sides.
Various attempts to revive the peace process have continued despite Duterte declaring the effort finished in 2017.
Duterte branded the talks dead yet again last month, saying the communists “can maybe talk to the next president of this republic one day.”