Sri Lanka moves to impeach chief justice

Updated 02 November 2012
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Sri Lanka moves to impeach chief justice

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s government said yesterday that it had started the process to impeach the country’s chief justice, accusing her of overstepping her limits in the culmination of a drawn-out conflict between the judiciary and the government.
Official spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said the papers to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake were handed to the speaker of the Parliament yesterday.
Rambukwella did not specify the charges against Bandaranayake, but said the proposal had received the approval of more than 75 lawmakers as required.
The move comes as the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is accused of tightening control over the media, police and election officials, as well as carrying out political vendettas against opposition parties.
The government changed the constitution last year, giving the president power to appoint the chief justice, police chief and election commissioner, which is seen as a way to curb their independence.
The dispute also coincides with Sri Lanka’s periodical review at the United Nations, where the country’s human rights record will be discussed. Lawmaker Pavithra Wanniarachi, who was among those handing the motion to the speaker, said the charges against Bandaranayake include “misuse of office and personal misconduct.” She did not elaborate. The main opposition United National Party condemned the move, saying it was a way to frighten the judiciary.
“We are against any interference made to the judiciary or any attempt to make the judiciary a political tool,” said lawmaker Tissa Attanayake, the party’s general secretary.
The impeachment motion requires more than half, or at least 113 votes, in Parliament to be passed.
The government controls two-thirds of the 225-member Parliament, so the motion is expected to pass.
The impeachment motion follows months of power struggles between the judiciary and Parliament. It also follows a recent Supreme Court determination that a government bill contradicted the constitution because it could give back power to the national government from provincial governments, such as for rural development plans.


Pakistan eliminated terrorism with monumental cost — Defense Minister

Updated 26 April 2018
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Pakistan eliminated terrorism with monumental cost — Defense Minister

  • Beijing hosted the first SCO Defense Ministers meeting after the organization was expanded in 2017 and added India and Pakistan as full members
  • He said that presence of Daesh in Afghanistan is a source of insecurity for its neighbors

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Defense Khurram Dastgir Khan said that Pakistan has eliminated terrorism from its soil at a monumental cost — in the in blood of soldiers and citizens.
The minister made his remarks at the 15th Defense Ministers Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing.
He added that Pakistan had adopted a comprehensive national action plan to combat terrorism: “We have suffered economic losses in excess of US $120 billion (Rs 13,920 billion) in our war against terror,” he added.
It was the first assembly of SCO Defense Ministers since the organization expanded in 2017, adding India and Pakistan as full members.

Khan said the continuing turmoil in Afghanistan, including presence of ISIS (Daesh), was a source of insecurity for its neighbors and the entire region.

“Serious challenges facing the region include violent extremism, poverty, lack of trans-boundary water management, drug trafficking, refugees, human trafficking and border controls,” the minister said.

Khan acknowledged the existence of bilateral issues between SCO members, but asserted that these should “never be allowed to impede our collective work.” He encouraged his counterparts to face collective challenges with “courage, harmony and cooperation.”

The minister signed a communiqué with other participants offering support for the “Shanghai Spirit” of building a shared community with peace and stability, development and prosperity.

Defense ministers from the SCO member states including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India attended the meeting. The defense minister of Belarus attended as an observer.