Court orders former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif removed from no-fly list

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Supporters of Pakistani former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chant slogans outside the Lahore High court, in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP)
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Supporters of Pakistani former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif react to the court's decision in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Court orders former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif removed from no-fly list

  • Pakistan’s ailing ex-premier granted four-week stay abroad for treatment

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Saturday ordered the government to remove former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the country’s exit control list for four weeks with no conditions attached. Shahbaz Sharif, president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), filed a petition on Friday challenging the government to allow Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment.
A two-member bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najfi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem heard the case and prepared a draft of Shahbaz’s undertaking to guarantee his brother’s return, ensuring permission to travel would not be used to engineer a second exile.
Shahbaz Sharif’s lawyer, Ashtar Ausaf, told local media that the draft had been accepted by the party.
Nawaz Sharif, 69, who has held the country’s top political office three times, is serving a seven-year sentence on corruption charges and was granted bail on health grounds.
The government approved his request to allow him to seek treatment abroad, but with a 7 billion rupee ($45.2 million) bond specifying his date of return — conditions that he rejected.
Shahbaz said the government’s conditional approval was an “intentional delay” with “no legal, constitutional or judicial basis.”

FASTFACT

Nawaz Sharif, 69, is serving a seven-year sentence on corruption charges and was granted bail on health grounds.

Addressing reporters in Lahore, Shahbaz said that the government’s “terrible demand” could be life-threatening to the ailing former premier whose health was rapidly deteriorating.
Law Minister Farogh Naseem said on Wednesday that the government’s approval “will be a one-time permission” and that “Sharif will be allowed to go anywhere in the world but will have to return in four weeks.”
Permission was granted to fulfill the government’s obligation in view of the former prime minister’s “critical medical condition,” he said.
PML-N Chairman Raja Zafrul Haq told Arab News that the government is admitting that Sharif is seriously ill, but is also creating hurdles to stop him traveling abroad for treatment.
“The court has granted him an eight-week bail, but the government is reducing that to four weeks and imposing an irrational condition. It is to be condemned and we strongly protest this decision,” he said.


New Filipino military chief vows to enforce controversial anti-terror law

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay. (Supplied)
Updated 03 August 2020

New Filipino military chief vows to enforce controversial anti-terror law

  • Gapay said his priority would be to bring an end to the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based primarily in rural areas

MANILA: The new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, on Monday assumed office with a vow to enforce the country’s recently enacted anti-terrorism law.
The controversial legislation took effect last month, despite legal challenges at the Supreme Court to stop its implementation.
It criminalizes acts that incite terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners, or other representations.” The new law also grants authorities broad powers to wiretap and tag individuals and groups as terrorists and detain them without charge for up to 24 days.
“We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, and it is geared to prevent occurrence of terroristic acts,” Gapay said in his first speech as army chief.
He called on Filipinos to support the military because beside dealing with terrorism and communist insurgency, the country now faced an unseen enemy in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The army, he said, was helping the government contain the deadly virus which had infected more than 100,000 people in the Philippines and claimed at least 2,100 lives.

We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, and it is geared to prevent occurrence of terroristic acts.

Lieutenant General Gilbert I. Gapay, Commanding general, Philippine Army

Gapay said his priority would be to bring an end to the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based primarily in rural areas — and local terrorist groups — Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and factions of the Daulah Islamiyah — that operate mainly in the country’s south.
“There will be no let up as we continue to be at the forefront confronting all these threats. We are trained for this but still we need the support of other agencies; we need the support of our fellow Filipinos,” Gapay added.
He said the army would continue to collaborate with partner agencies and foreign counterparts in addressing domestic and regional threats, adding that it would suggest provisions to the rules and regulations of the new law to enhance intelligence sharing and strengthen maritime security to deter foreign terrorists from entering the country through its porous sea borders.
Prior to his appointment, Gapay, who replaces the retiring Gen. Felimon T. Santos, Jr., served as the 61st army commander.