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Found 22 results

  1. Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned from presidency following protests in country, becoming first Sri Lankan head of state to quit mid-term
  2. Exit follows popular uprising over economic meltdown; Rajapaksa brothers barred from leaving country for 2 weeks
  3. In no-confidence vote, 16 committee members voted in favour of removing Shehryar Afridi from position
  4. "Had our [relationship] with establishment been good, we would have still been in govt," Fawad Chaudhry says
  5. Myanmar junta hands Suu Kyi punishment for incitement against the military and breaching COVID-19 rules
  6. Switzerland´s Roger Federer returns against South Africa´s Kevin Anderson during their men´s singles quarter-finals match on the ninth day of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. Photo: AFP LONDON: Roger Federer suffered a stunning Wimbledon...
  7. Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam outside the accountability court today. Photo: Geo NewsISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that had he not been ousted from office, he would have taken the country to new heights vis-à-vis...
  8. Emmerson Mnangagwa ? the ousted vice president of Zimbabwe ? arrives at the National Heroes Acre, in Harare, Zimbabwe, January 7, 2017. AFP/Jekesai Njikizana/Files HARARE: Zimbabwe?s top general said on Monday talks were planned between President Robert Mugabe and former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose sacking by the 93-year-old leader two weeks ago triggered a coup. General Constantino Chiwenga, head of the armed forces and leader of the takeover codenamed ?Operation Restore Legacy?, told a media conference he was encouraged by contact between the two men and Mnangagwa would be back in the country soon. ?Thereafter, the nation will be advised on the outcome of talks between the two,? he said, reading from a statement. Earlier, Zimbabwe?s ruling ZANU-PF resolved to bring a motion in parliament on Tuesday to impeach Mugabe, after a noon deadline expired for the besieged leader to resign and bring the curtain down on nearly four decades in power. Impeachment could see Mugabe kicked out in days and would be an ignominious end to the career of the ?Grand Old Man? of African politics, once lauded as an anti-colonial hero. In the draft motion, the party accused Mugabe of being a ?source of instability?, flouting the rule of law and presiding over an ?unprecedented economic tailspin? in the last 15 years. It also said he had abused his constitutional mandate to favour his unpopular wife Grace, 52, whose tilt at power triggered the backlash from the army that brought tanks onto the streets of the capital last week. Mnangagwa?s removal was meant to boost her chances of succeeding her husband. On paper, the impeachment process is long-winded, involving a joint sitting of the Senate and National Assembly, then a nine-member committee of senators, then another joint sitting to confirm his dismissal with a two-thirds majority. However, constitutional experts said ZANU-PF, in revolt against Mugabe, could push it through quickly. ?They can fast-track it. It can be done in a matter of a day,? said John Makamure, executive director of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust. Mugabe?s demise ? which now appears inevitable ? is likely to send shockwaves across Africa. A number of entrenched strongmen, from Uganda?s Yoweri Museveni to Democratic Republic of Congo?s Joseph Kabila, are facing mounting pressure to step aside. Mugabe was once admired as the ?Thinking Man?s Guerrilla?, a world away from his image in his latter years as a dictator who proudly declared he held a ?degree in violence?. As the economy crumbled and opposition to his rule grew in the late 1990s, Mugabe tightened his grip in the southern African country of 16 million, seizing white-owned farms, unleashing security forces to crush dissent, and speaking of ruling until he was 100. 'Sanitised coup' ZANU-PF?s action follows a weekend of high drama in Harare that culminated in reports Mugabe had agreed to stand down - only for him to dash the hopes of millions of his countrymen in a bizarre and rambling national address on Sunday night. Flanked by the generals who sent in troops last week to seize the state broadcaster, Mugabe spoke of the need for national unity and farming reform but made no mention of his own fate. ?I am baffled. It?s not just me, it?s the whole nation,? shocked opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told Reuters. ?He?s playing a game.? Two senior government sources told Reuters Mugabe had agreed on Sunday to step aside and CNN said on Monday his resignation letter had been drawn up, with terms that included immunity for him and Grace. Two other political sources told Reuters on Monday Mugabe had indeed agreed to resign but ZANU-PF did not want him to quit in front of the military, an act that would have made its intervention last week look more like a coup. Another political source said Mugabe?s opponents had hoped his televised speech would ?sanitize? the military?s action, which has paved the way for Mnangagwa ? a former security chief known as The Crocodile ? to take over. Moments after the address, war veterans? leader Chris Mutsvangwa, called for a wave of protests if Mugabe refused to go. In London, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said Mugabe had clearly lost the support of his people. Since last week, Mugabe has been confined to his lavish ?Blue Roof? residence in Harare, apart from two trips to State House to meet the generals and one to a university graduation ceremony at which he appeared to fall asleep. Grace and at least two senior members of her ?G40? political faction are believed to be holed up in the same compound. Deep state On Saturday, hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Harare to celebrate Mugabe?s expected downfall and hail a new era for their country, whose economy has imploded under the weight of economic mismanagement. Inflation reached 500 billion percent in 2008. An estimated 3 million Zimbabweans have emigrated to neighbouring South Africa in search of a better life. The huge crowds on the streets have given a quasi-democratic veneer to the army?s intervention. Behind the euphoria, however, some Zimbabweans have misgivings. ?The real danger of the current situation is that having got their new preferred candidate into State House, the military will want to keep him or her there, no matter what the electorate wills,? former education minister David Coltart said. Others worry about Mnangagwa?s past, particularly as state security chief in the early 1980s, when an estimated 20,000 people were killed in the so-called Gukurahundi crackdown by the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland. He has denied any wrongdoing but critics say Zimbabwe risks swapping one army-backed autocrat for another. ?The deep state that engineered this change of leadership will remain, thwarting any real democratic reform,? said Miles Tendi, a Zimbabwean academic at Oxford University.
  9. Former PM Nawaz Sharif leaves the court with his daughter Maryam. Photo: Geo News ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif came down hard at the country's judiciary on Wednesday, saying, "The anger and grudges of judges have come out in their words". He was addressing the media after leaving the accountability court which indicted him in person today in the three corruption references against him. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/757d7a4d8afefd2e034908359e718eaf.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MTEvOC8yMDE3IDY6MTE6NDIgQU0maGFzaF92YWx1ZT1vOGJFV215OHhvK2tTVmdoKzN3WXVRPT0mdmFsaWRtaW51dGVzPTYwJmlkPTE= style=center] Referring to the detailed order of the Supreme Court rejecting Nawaz's review petitions in the Panama Papers case which was released on Tuesday, Nawaz said, all this will be read as a dark chapter in the country's history. Court dismisses Nawaz Sharif's plea to club cases, indicts former PM in person Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption references filed by NAB in light of the Supreme Court's judgment in the Panama Papers case Nawaz also said that he knew today's decision of the accountability court would not be in his favour. He was referring to the court's order today dismissing his plea to club the three references against him into one.
  10. Sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont makes a statement in Brussels - Reuters MADRID: Spain on Friday issued an arrest warrant on sedition and other charges against Carles Puigdemont, tightening the judicial net around the former Catalan leader who went Brussels after his government was sacked over a declaration of independence. A Madrid High Court judge asked Belgium to arrest Puigdemont and four associates after they ignored a court order to return to Spain on Thursday to answer charges of rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, disobedience and breach of trust relating to their secessionist campaign. The judge rejected a request from Puigdemont to testify via video conference from Belgium. In Brussels, a federal prosecutor said Belgian authorities would study the warrant before handing it to a judge. "We will give it to an investigative judge maybe tomorrow or the day after," Eric Van der Sypt told Reuters. Puigdemont, who is considering standing in a snap election in the region on Dec. 21, has said he did not trust Spanish justice but would cooperate with the Belgian courts. Embroiled in Spain's gravest political crisis since the return of democracy in the late 1970s, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the election when he took control of Catalonia in response to last week's declaration of independence by its parliament. Belgium, where a European arrest warrant can be blocked for several mainly procedural reasons, will have a maximum of three months to decide whether to send Puigdemont back to Spain. On Thursday, nine members of his sacked cabinet were ordered by the High Court to be held in custody pending an investigation and potential trial. "We consider ourselves a legitimate government," Puigdemont told Belgian state television RTBF on Friday. "There must be a continuity to tell the world what's going on in Spain ... It's not with a government in jail that the elections will be neutral, independent, normal." "... I am ready to be a candidate ... it's possible to run a campaign from anywhere." General strike call The detention of the secessionist leaders and Puigdemont's journey to Belgium have given a new boost to the secessionist camp after cracks had appeared in its ranks. In protest at the jailings, Catalan civic groups Asamblea Nacional Catalana and Omnium Cultural -- whose leaders were imprisoned last month on sedition charges -- called for a general strike on Nov. 8 and a mass demonstration on Nov. 11. Another six Catalan leaders are due to testify on Nov. 9 on the same charges. One member of the dismissed cabinet, Santi Vila, was released after paying bail of 50,000 euros ($58,300) on Friday. The other eight could remain in custody for up to four years. Vila stepped down from the Catalan cabinet before the independence declaration. While he remains a supporter of an secession he has advocated a negotiated solution with the central government. He has said he wanted to stand as the leading candidate for Puigdemont's PdeCat (Catalan Democratic party) in the regional election. Thousands of people staged pro-independence protests on Thursday night in several Catalan towns, and parties forming the current coalition Junts Pel Si (Together For Yes) are pushing to run again on a joint ticket at the election. An opinion poll published on Tuesday showed Junts Pel Si would win in December with 35.2 percent if the vote was held immediately and would likely reach a parliamentary majority if it stuck with its current pact with far-left party CUP. The Spanish government said on Friday it would have no option but to open talks within the law with those who held a majority. "We could offer a new dialogue so that we can fulfil Catalans' aspirations for more autonomy and look into reforming the constitution," Foreign Affairs Minister Alfonso Dastis told French newspaper Le Figaro in an interview. "Some even mention the idea of a federal model so that regions can have more autonomy, including financially."
  11. BAHAWALPUR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Thursday once again criticised Nawaz Sharif for asking why was he ousted. Addressing a rally in Uch Sharif, Khan said the Supreme Court gave complete chance to Nawaz Sharif [to clarify] as to how were Rs300 billion he earned were sent abroad. "Nawaz Sharif lied and failed to present a single document as evidence," he said. "When the JIT was formed, even then no evidence was provided to substantiate their claims." The PTI chief questioned PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as to why was a criminal being given protocol. "What message is being conveyed? Does this mean one should not steal small things and go for bigger ones?" he questioned, lamenting that prisons in the country are overcrowded with poor people involved in petty crimes. "The one who took away Rs300 billion asks why was he ousted," Khan took a jibe at Nawaz. "You are attacking the courts to hide your corruption."
  12. Sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont attends a news conference at the Press Club Brussels Europe in Brussels, Belgium, October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman MADRID: Dismissed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said on Wednesday he would ignore a court order to return to Spain to answer charges over the region?s push for independence, but he could testify from Belgium. If Puigdemont fails to answer Thursday?s High Court summons, an arrest warrant could be issued that would make it virtually impossible for him to stand in a snap regional election called by the Spanish government for December 21. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sacked Puigdemont and his government on Friday, hours after the Catalan parliament made a unilateral declaration of independence in a vote boycotted by the opposition and declared illegal by Spanish courts. On Monday, Spain?s state prosecutor filed charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds against Puigdemont for defying the central government by holding a referendum on secession on Oct. 1 and proclaiming independence. Puigdemont travelled to Belgium at the weekend with other members of the dismissed Catalan administration and hired a lawyer. ?Those summonses are part of proceedings that lack any legal basis and only seek to punish ideas. This is a political trial,? Puigdemont said in a statement signed by ?the legitimate government of Catalonia?. The High Court summoned Puigdemont and 13 other former members of the Catalan government to testify in Madrid on Thursday and Friday on the prosecutor?s charges. A judge will then decide whether those called to testify should go to jail pending an investigation that could take several years and potentially lead to a trial. The judge might also grant them conditional bail or order them to surrender their passports. The courts have also told the Catalan secessionist leaders to deposit 6.2 million euros ($7.2 million) by Friday to cover potential liabilities. 'Off to prison'? Three former Catalan government advisors returned to Spain from Belgium late on Tuesday and were greeted at Barcelona?s international airport by a small crowd chanting ?off to prison?. Puigdemont said on Tuesday he would only go back to Spain when given unspecified ?guarantees? by the Spanish government. He said he accepted the election called by Rajoy for December and Madrid said he was welcome to stand, though the legal proceedings might prevent that. Uncertainty over how the crisis will play out has prompted more than 1,800 Catalonia-based companies to move their legal headquarters out of the region and the government to lower its national economic forecasts for next year. On Wednesday, rating agency Moody?s said the declaration of independence and the suspension of self-rule were credit negative for the region and the country, and that associated uncertainty would damage sentiment and consumer spending. Moody?s raised Spain?s credit rating to Baa2 in 2014 as the country emerged from a prolonged economic slump. On Tuesday, Moody?s affirmed Catalonia?s long-term issuer and debt ratings of Ba3, saying the government?s reinforced control compensated for the increased risks, in particular, the region?s rapidly deteriorating business climate.
  13. KARACHI: Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan Chief Farooq Sattar expressed his reservations on Saturday regarding disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif?s political revival, saying that if a person cannot participate in active politics, then how he can lead a party. Sattar was speaking to media in Karachi, where he addressed the issue of the recently approved Elections Bill 2017 by the Senate. The bill rejected opposition?s amendments which favoured continuation of an existing law. According to the clause, a disqualified person cannot be an office-bearer of any political party in case of his disqualification as member of the parliament. According to Sattar, the MQM-P supported the amendments introduced to the bill by the Pakistan People?s Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. ?If any MQM-P member supported the PML-N in this case, then action would be taken against that individual,? he said. The MQM-P chief said that the law is against the Constitution and the spirit of the Articles, 62 and 63. On the subject of Karachi package of Rs25 billion announced by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Sattar said that the package is the right of the city and soon work will start on the plan.
  14. ?I?'?m proud to be the torch bearer of ideology which PML-N has,? Maryam said. ?I am (Nawaz?s) reflection, I am his extension" LAHORE: In campaigning for a Pakistan by-election seen as a test of support for ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the most visible figure is not on the ballot: Sharif?s daughter, Maryam, widely touted as his political heir-apparent. This past weekend, crowds mobbed Maryam?s car and threw rose petals as she crisscrossed the eastern city of Lahore campaigning for her mother, Kulsoom, who is the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party?s candidate to contest the seat Nawaz was forced to vacate by a Supreme Court ruling in July. With Kulsoom in London for cancer surgery, accompanied by Nawaz, 43-year-old Maryam has led the campaign with fiery speeches denouncing Nawaz?s opponents and the Supreme Court. Her influence within the PML-N has grown in recent years, with senior party figures crediting her with Nawaz?s move to embrace relatively more pro-women and liberal causes in a staunchly conservative nation of 208 million people. In a rare interview with foreign media, Maryam outlined to Reuters what drives her political ambitions as she emerges from her father?s shadow to become a prominent figure in the ruling party he still controls. ?I?'?m proud to be the torch bearer of ideology which PML-N has,? Maryam said at the weekend in Punjab?s provincial capital Lahore, her father?s electoral power base. ?I am (Nawaz?s) reflection, I am his extension. I have grown up espousing his agenda, his ideology.? Maryam has framed the election as a chance for voters to protest the Supreme Court?s verdict against her father and help the PML-N flex its electoral muscle. ?Your vote was disrespected and disregarded, will you answer to this disrespect on Sept. 17?? Maryam asked at a recent rally. The by-election is seen as a litmus test for the PML-N?s political fortunes in the wake of Nawaz?s ouster, and an early indicator of voter sentiment ahead of a general election next year. Opposition leader Imran Khan, on the ascendancy after Nawaz?s ouster, and eager to make inroads into the PML-N?s political heartlands in Punjab, has accused Maryam of benefiting from alleged corruption swirling around her father, and cast the by-election as a plebiscite on corruption. ?This election will decide where the people of Pakistan stand,? Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, told crowds in Lahore last week. The PML-N made Maryam - a telegenic but inexperienced politician - the face of the campaign despite a Supreme Court-appointed panel accusing her of signing forged documents to obscure ownership of offshore companies used to buy upmarket London flats. She denies any wrongdoing but the Supreme Court has ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to launch a criminal investigation into her, Nawaz and other family members. Ahead of another rally on Sunday, Maryam hinted at military interference in Pakistani politics and portrayed herself as a campaigner for democracy. ?Our history is marred with dictatorships and repeated attacks on democracy, so this is what I struggle for,? she told Reuters. Maryam says her father?s dismissal by the Supreme Court is a conspiracy, noting his success in reinvigorating the economy - with a pro-business focus on infrastructure spending to boost development - and overall popularity ?sent alarm bells ringing? for those who don?t want Pakistan to have a strong leader. ?This was the main reason he was being targeted,? she said, before adding: ?That?s all I can say.? Such coded talk is a familiar dance in Pakistan, where politicians speak between the lines to imply that the hidden hand of the powerful military is behind unfolding events. Asked if she is talking about elements of the military being involved in her father?s ouster, as some senior PML-N figures have hinted, Maryam paused before saying: ?It?s not my place to comment?. Bhutto comparisons Maryam was coy when asked whether she has ambitions to be prime minister one day, saying she was not eyeing anything and was for now ?happy with love and affection that I?m getting?. But senior PML-N officials expect her to at least become a minister in the next cabinet if the party holds on to power after the 2018 poll. Others have suggested she may become a leader soon. Maryam was more forthcoming when asked about comparisons with slain female leader Benazir Bhutto, the daughter of former premier Zulfikar Bhutto who vied for power with Nawaz during two decades of political turmoil and tussles with the military. ?I have a lot of respect for the lady, but ... the only thing which is common between us is gender,? she said.
  15. Maria Sharapova. Photo:File NEW YORK: Maria Sharapova´s Grand Slam return after a 15-month doping ban ended Sunday with a fourth-round defeat at the US Open but the former world number one considered it a major step in her comeback. Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova rallied to eliminate the five-time Grand Slam champion 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 at Arthur Ashe Stadium, booking a quarter-final against American Sloane Stephens, who ousted Germany´s Julia Goerges 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Sharapova, the 2006 US Open winner, was able to find the positives after making 51 unforced errors to only 14 by Sevastova, whose 21 winners were half the 30-year-old Russian´s total. "Reflecting back on the week, I can be happy," Sharapova said. "It has been a really great ride. Ultimately, I can take a lot from this week." Tuesday´s other quarter-final will match Czech 13th seed Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, against US ninth seed Venus Williams, seeking her eighth Slam title and third US Open crown. Kvitova eliminated Spanish third seed and two-time Slam winner Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 while Williams beat 35th-ranked Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. In Sharapova´s first Slam since she tested positive for the banned blood booster meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, she ousted second-ranked Simona Halep in the first round and served notice to any contender her game remains formidable. "She played unbelievable throughout the first and second set and I just kept fighting, running for every ball," Sevastova said. "I was confident. I was feeling it. But still you have to beat her. She was playing one of the best matches here." Sharapova returned from her suspension in April, was snubbed for a French Open wildcard and missed Wimbledon with a thigh injury but received a US Open wildcard despite only one hardcourt tuneup match due to a left forearm injury. "It´s great to get that major out of the way," Sharapova said. "I´m thankful for the opportunity. I did my best and I can be proud of that." Sharapova is expected to jump from 146th to around 100th in the world rankings. Kvitova 4-1 against Venus Williams is the oldest woman entered at 37 but was this year´s Wimbledon and Australian Open runner-up. She hasn´t reached three Slam finals in a year since 2002. "I´m focused on myself and trying to be as aggressive as possible," Williams said. "Nobody ever gives you a Slam. You´ve got to take it and I´m going to try and take it." Kvitova, 4-1 all-time against Williams, missed five months after a knife-wielding home intruder injured her left hand last December. "I worked hard to come back and be here. It means a lot," Kvitova said. "I don´t have words to describe. It was a tough time. All five months were very tough. "It was just a journey I didn´t know how it would end. If it ends here on the big stage it´s a happy end." Muguruza still leads the fight for world number one after the Open but will be overtaken if fourth seed Elina Svitolina makes the semi-finals or top seed Karolina Pliskova reaches the final. Stephens missed 11 months with a foot injury and returned only at Wimbledon, but has won 12 of her past 14 matches for her deepest US Open run in six tries. "I honestly couldn´t have asked for a better comeback," Stephens said. "Making it to the quarter-finals here is unbelievable." Teen Shapovalov ousted In a men´s draw assured of producing a first-time Slam finalist, Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta meets Argentine 29th seed Diego Schwartzman in the last-eight while South African 28th seed Kevin Anderson meets German 23rd seed Mischa Zverev or US 17th seed Sam Querrey. Anderson matched his best Slam run from the 2015 US Open by beating Italy´s Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4. "I got off to a great start the first two sets and imposed my game," Anderson said. "I had to dig deep and it feels absolutely fantastic to get through." Carreno Busta, who has not dropped a set, ended Canadian 18-year-old qualifier Denis Shapovalov´s dream run 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3). Shapovalov would have been the youngest Slam quarter-finalist since Michael Chang at the 1990 French Open and youngest at the US Open since Andre Agassi in 1988. "The biggest lesson is that I´m able to compete with these guys," Shapovalov said. "I still think I have a lot of work to do." Schwartzman eliminated French 16th seed Lucas Pouille 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 2-6, 6-2. At 5ft 7ins (1.70m), he is the shortest Grand Slam quarter-finalist since Peruvian Jaime Yzaga at the 1994 US Open.
  16. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks with an official during a meeting on August 9, 2017, in Islamabad, Pakistan. REUTERS/Caren Firouz/Files ISLAMABAD: Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday sought a review of a Supreme Court decision that disqualified him from office over undeclared assets, an official from his ruling party said on Tuesday. Sharif, 67, resigned during his third stint as prime minister shortly after the Supreme Court ruled on July 28 that he should be disqualified and ordered a criminal probe into his family's wealth. Jan Achakzai, a PML-N official, told Reuters Sharif had filed three separate appeals in the Supreme Court. "It is our right to seek a review," he said. "People of Pakistan haven't accepted the decision." Achakzai said the same five-judge panel that decided on the disqualification would likely hear the review petitions. Sharif's disqualification stems from the Panama Papers leaks in 2016 that appeared to show that Sharif's daughter and two sons owned offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and used them to buy properties in London. In April, the Supreme Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to remove Sharif from office ? by a split 2-3 verdict ? over the Panama revelations but it ordered further investigations into his family's wealth. The judges in July alleged Sharif did not declare a small source of income that the veteran leader disputes receiving. Achakzai said the appeals sought a review of the disqualification on the basis that two of the five judges, who had already given a dissenting note in April's verdict, were not supposed to sit on the panel that gave the final ruling. Sharif has kept a grip on the ruling PML-N party, which has a solid majority in parliament, and elected one of his loyalists, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, as his replacement within days of the court decision. Critics say Sharif remains in control of the country through Abbasi and is trying to undermine the judiciary. Sharif's aides say he shows no signs of leaving politics and he recently called the Supreme Court ruling against him "an insult to the mandate of 200 million voters". Last week he started a so-called homecoming "caravan" procession across the Punjab region where he derives his voter base, from the capital Islamabad to the eastern city of Lahore, drawing large crowds along the way.
  17. Kulsoom Nawaz ? the wife of ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ? speaks during a news conference at her residence in Islamabad, Pakistan, December 9, 2000. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed/Files LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The wife of ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will contest a special election for the parliamentary seat he was forced to vacate after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office, party officials said. Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif will be the candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party in the by-election to be held in about 45 days, Sharif adviser Asif Kirmani told reporters in the eastern city of Lahore. The announcement comes as Nawaz Sharif leads a "homecoming" caravan to Lahore that has drawn thousands of supporters. The ex-premier on Thursday described his removal last month by the top court over unreported income as "an insult to the mandate of 200 million voters". The verdict marked a political victory for opposition leader Imran Khan, a former cricket star who led a campaign demanding Sharif's wealth be investigated. Khan himself is facing a court case alleging undeclared assets. The decision to put forward Sharif's wife is in keeping with Pakistan's tradition of dynastic politics and also indicates the former PM will likely remain involved behind the scenes. PML-N last week elected Shahid Khaqan Abbasi ? one of Sharif's loyalists ? as prime minister. Party leaders have suggested Abbasi will hold office until elections due next year, a reversal of earlier indications that Shehbaz ? Sharif's younger brother ? would seek the vacant seat and later take over as the premier. There is also talk in the party ranks that Kulsoom herself could become prime minister once elected to parliament, but a Sharif aide said it was too early to speculate. Kulsoom ? who has never run for office ? will be canvassing for votes in Sharif's political stronghold inside Lahore's Walled City, where her husband has never lost. "We will, God willing, win this seat with a big majority," Muhammad Safdar ? Sharif's son-in-law who is also a member of parliament ? said as he stood beside Kirmani. Kulsoom has always stood by her husband throughout a political career that has seen him elected and then ousted as prime minister three times. In 2000, when army chief General Pervez Musharraf removed Sharif in a military coup, Kulsoom led protests in Lahore. In one of the protests, she locked herself in a car for several hours, refusing to let police arrest her. Police had to tow her car and then lift it with a crane to drive miles back to her home.
  18. BRASILIA: Brazil's top electoral court dismissed a case on Friday that threatened to unseat President Michel Temer for alleged illegal campaign funding in the 2014 election, when he was the running mate of impeached President Dilma Rousseff. The ruling gives Temer some breathing room but will not end a political crisis enveloping the beleaguered center-right leader. He is being investigated separately by federal prosecutors for corruption, obstruction of justice and racketeering. "We cannot be changing the president of the Republic all the time, even if the people want to," said the court's chief judge, Gilmar Mendes. Mendes, who backed the impeachment of Rousseff, said the country should not expect the court to solve the current political crisis. The electoral court, known as the TSE, voted 4-3 to acquit the Rousseff-Temer ticket of wrongdoing. That avoided the annulment of their election and the removal of Temer from office. He took over a year ago following Rousseff's impeachment in the midst of Brazil's worst recession on record. In a decisive move, that same majority had ruled on Thursday to not allow as evidence in the case plea-bargain testimony from 77 executives of the Odebrecht [ODBES.UL] construction firm, which is at the center of a vast political graft scheme. Those witnesses told investigators they funneled millions of dollars in illegal funds into the 2014 Rousseff-Temer ticket. But the testimony was made more than a year after the beginning of the case that concluded Friday, and without it Temer's lawyers argued there was no proof of wrongdoing. The acquittal will help Temer, whose government's poll ratings are in the single digits, retain key coalition allies who will support approval in Congress of his fiscal reform agenda. The austerity measures aim to bring a gaping budget deficit under control and restore investor confidence. Alexandre Parola, a spokesman for Temer, said after the ruling that the president viewed the decision as an example of effective institutions keeping the country's democracy working. INVESTIGATIONS 'JUST STARTING' Political analysts said the acquittal was disastrous for the credibility of Brazil's judiciary, the government institution that polls show is most trusted by Brazilians. Some warned it would add to growing disillusionment with democracy. "This catastrophic ruling prolongs the survival of a government that has lost all credibility and can no longer govern," said Roberto Romano, professor of ethics and political philosophy at Campinas University. He said it would add to a small but worrying trend of Brazilians favoring a return to military rule. Temer, a third of his Cabinet and dozens of powerful congressmen are under investigation for corruption. The leader is likely to soon face separate charges in the case involving allegations of receiving bribes and condoning the payment of hush money handed over to a potential witness in a massive graft scandal, investigators have told Reuters. The Supreme Court approved the investigation into the president late last month. But to put him on trial, the charges against the president would have to be approved by two-thirds of the lower chamber of Congress, where Temer's coalition retains a majority. With an election year approaching in 2018, however, the governing coalition's majority could shrink if lawmakers break away, concerned about voters punishing them for being part of a government overwhelmingly perceived in polls as corrupt. Acquittal by the electoral court could help Temer's main coalition ally, the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), convince its younger members who want to bolt from the government to stay put and help push unpopular reforms through Congress. But political volatility will not die down. "The days ahead will be very difficult for Temer. The corruption investigations are just starting," said Flavia Bahia, professor at the CERS law school and FGV think tank in Rio de Janeiro. "The government can't be sure of its allies anymore." The separate investigation by prosecutors into Temer includes a secret recording of a conversation he had earlier this year with a former top executive of meatpacker JBS SA. In it, the president appears to condone paying bribes to an imprisoned former lawmaker to keep him from turning state's witness and providing potentially devastating testimony about graft. Temer has denied any wrongdoing and insists he will never resign. But a one-time top aide to the leader, Rodrigo Rocha Loures, was caught on a police video released last month picking up a bag filled with 500,000 reais ($152,000) in cash from a JBS executive, allegedly meant to silence the potential witness. Temer aides told Reuters they worry that if Rocha Loures decides to reach a plea-bargain deal with investigators, it will strengthen any charges filed against the president.
  19. LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party Central Punjab president and former Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Friday that had his party wanted the government would have been ousted in 2015, but then the government would have complained about not completing its tenure. Addressing a PPP rally, Kaira reminded the prime minister that they had given him four years and are now asking what happened of the promises made in the 2013 elections. Criticising Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the PPP leader said that he the CM had claimed loadshedding will end in a year but industries are being shut and foreign trade has decreased. “Loadshedding in Lahore has ended because of our rallies,” he claimed.
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