Corruption references against Sharifs retracted

Nawaz Sharif. (AFP)
Updated 14 September 2017

Corruption references against Sharifs retracted

ISLAMABAD: Four corruption references filed by the country’s anti-corruption bureau last week against the Sharifs and incumbent Federal Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, were returned on Tuesday from the office of the court’s registrar.
Following scrutiny of the submitted documents, the registrar found incomplete documentation and technical faults in the references.
Arab News has learned today from sources at the anti-graft bureau that they “have completed the documents which were missing and received certified copies from the Supreme Court today,” submitting them to the registrar of the Accountability Court. Sources added that the registrar “accepted one reference of Flagship” (Investment Ltd), an allegedly Sharif-owned offshore company under investigation, “whereas three references have been returned” after minor queries were raised.
The references, which were approved on Sept. 7 by the National Accountability Bureau Chairman, include the highly valued Avenfield properties (Flats No. 16, 16-A, 17, 17-A, Avenfield House, Park Lane) located in London, the establishment of Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Company in Jeddah, and 15 other companies along with Flagship Investment Ltd. The fourth reference, possessing assets beyond known sources of income, is against Dar.
Nawaz Sharif, his three children Hassan, Hussain, Maryam, his son-in-law Capt. (R) Safdar, and Ishaq Dar have refused to appear before the NAB court till their plea petitions, filed with the Apex court, are decided.
However, the former prime minister’s two sons, daughter and son-in-law filed a petition on Monday through their defense counsel pleading for a larger bench of judges to review their pleas as they were dissatisfied with the three-member panel.
“In terms of the legal and constitutional dispensation of the State of Pakistan, a Supreme Court bench of lesser strength cannot upset or pre-empt the decision of a larger bench," they contended.
Since Nawaz Sharif was deposed on July 28, declared “dishonest” by a five-member judicial bench, the applicants’ legal counsel have requested the same panel for their hearing. The plea for a larger bench has been admitted by the Supreme Court.
The Sharifs have questioned the legality of the Supreme Court’s directive to have a Supreme Court judge to supervise the trial court proceedings against the accused. They also filed a plea to have the final order of the court to open graft cases by the NAB suspended pending a final decision on their petitions.


Hong Kong protesters sing ‘God Save the Queen’ in plea to former colonial power

Updated 15 September 2019

Hong Kong protesters sing ‘God Save the Queen’ in plea to former colonial power

  • The Chinese-ruled territory has been rocked by weeks of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests
  • Demonstrators angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city’s affairs despite a promise of autonomy

HONG KONG: Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters singing “God Save the Queen” and waving Union Jack flags rallied outside the British Consulate on Sunday demanding that the former colonial power ensures China honors its commitments to the city’s freedoms.
The Chinese-ruled territory has been rocked by weeks of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests, with demonstrators angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city’s affairs despite a promise of autonomy.
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984, lays out Hong Kong’s future after its return to China in 1997, a “one country, two systems” formula that ensures freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.
“Sino-British Joint Declaration is VOID,” one placard read. “SOS Hong Kong,” read another.
“One country, two systems is dead,” they shouted in English under the sub-tropical sun, some carrying the colonial flag also bearing the Union Jack. “Free Hong Kong.”
With many young people looking for routes out of Hong Kong, campaigners say Britain should change the status of the British National (Overseas) passport, a category created after Britain returned Hong Kong to China. The passports allow a holder to visit Britain for six months, but do not come with an automatic right to live or work there.
“I am here to demand the UK protect our citizens’ rights in Hong Kong and speak up for Hong Kong under the Joint Declaration,” Jacky Tsang, 25, told Reuters.
The spark for the protests was planned legislation, now withdrawn, that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial, despite Hong Kong having its own much-respected independent judiciary.
The protests have since broadened into calls for universal suffrage.
China says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” arrangement, denies meddling and says the city is an internal Chinese issue. It has accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the unrest and told them to mind their own business.
Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure China abides by the 1984 declaration.
“The Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty between the UK and China that remains as valid today as it was when it was signed and ratified over 30 years ago,” a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said in June.
“As a co-signatory, the UK government will continue to defend our position.”
But it was not immediately clear what Britain could or would want to do defend that position. It is pinning its hopes on closer trade and investment cooperation with China, which since 1997 has risen to become the world’s second-largest economy, after it leaves the European Union at the end of next month.
The Civil Human Rights Front has also called for a mass rally in Victoria Park, just to the east of the central business district, but police have denied permission because of earlier clashes after huge gatherings.
Protesters are expected to turn up early in the afternoon anyway.