Connect with us

Lead Stories

Nawaz Sharif gets 10 years rigorous imprisonment

Press Trust of India

Published

🕒

on

IST

Islamabad, July 6: Pakistan’s deposed premier Nawaz Sharif was Friday sentenced in absentia to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment by an anti-graft court in one of the three corruption cases against him in the Panama Papers scandal, dealing a huge blow to his party ahead of the elections on July 25.

Sharif’s 44-year-old daughter and co-accused Maryam was given seven years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of two million pounds, while her husband Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar was jailed for one year for not cooperating with the anti-graft authorities.

Amid tight security, the court delivered the much-anticipated verdict after postponing it for five times during the day in the Avenfield corruption case — pertaining to the ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London.

 

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed the case, along with two others, on the Supreme Court’s directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict last year which disqualified Sharif, the three-time prime minister. Sharif, 68, is currently in London attending to his wife Kulsoom Nawaz who was diagnosed with throat cancer last year.

The ruling came weeks before the general elections in Pakistan on July 25 and analysts say it could adversely hit the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the party headed by Sharif.

After the verdict, Maryam and Safdar were disqualified from contesting elections. NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said the accused have 10 days to file an appeal against the verdict.

Soon after the verdict, Maryam, considered to be Sharif’s heir apparent, took to Twitter to share this message: “This is a very small punishment for firmly standing in front of unseen forces.

The morale to fight against oppression has increased today.” Islamabad-based accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir pronounced the verdict behind closed doors.

Earlier, he had rejected the application of the Sharif family seeking a seven-day postponement in announcement of the verdict.

“The court sentenced Sharif to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and fined eight million pounds (over USD 10 million). Maryam was given seven years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed two million pounds (over USD 2.6 million) and her husband Muhammad Safdar was awarded one year rigorous imprisonment,” the NAB prosecution team chief Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi told media outside the court.

The court also ordered confiscation of Avenfield apartments in favour of Pakistan. The fine money will go into the state treasury. “I congratulate my all prosecution team… It is a victory of the NAB prosecution,” Abbasi said.

He also said that the verdict showed that Avenfield apartments were purchased with corruption money and were in ownership of Sharif family since 1993.

According to media reports, Sharif and Maryam were in their apartment in the Avenfield building in London when the decision was announced. Besides Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar, his sons Hassan and Hussain were also co-accused.

The two sons never appeared before the court and were declared as absconders. Sharif resigned as Pakistan prime minister last year after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against the beleaguered leader and his children over the Panama Papers scandal.

The Avenfield case hearing lasted for more than nine months and both Sharif and his daughter attended dozens of hearings. During the trial, the NAB presented around 21 witnessed to prove that Sharif family cannot justify the money trail to buy four apartments in Avenfield House, Park Lane, London.

It is alleged that the properties were allegedly bought with graft money in 1990s when he served twice as the prime minister. Sharif rejected any wrongdoing and insisted they were bought with the legitimate money. After the conviction, it was not sure if Sharif and Maryam would come back to face rigorous imprisonment.

Analysts believe that if they return, it might boost the chances of good showing in elections by the PML-N due to sympathy vote. Sharif’s nemesis Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) said even before verdict that Sharif will be sent to jail due to his corruption, as he accused him of using illness of his wife Kulsoom as “emotional blackmail”.

“Sharif did not remember his wife while she was under treatment in London and he was holding public meetings across the country,” the cricketer-turned-politician said.


Advertisement
Loading...

Lead Stories

Awantipora teacher killed in police custody

Torture marks on body; city DM orders inquiry; police says deceased was ‘suspect in militancy case’

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

Published

on

Srinagar, Mar 19: A youth from Awantipora town in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district was killed in police custody in Srinagar during the intervening night of March 18 and 19.
The deceased was identified as 28-year-old Rizwan Assad Pandith, M.Sc in Chemistry, who worked as Principal at Sabir Abdullah, a local private school, and also ran a tuition institute.
He was arrested from his home on Sunday, March 17 by a Police party led by a DSP rank officer, his brother Zulkarnain said.
“Yesterday (Monday), we went to the police station where we were told that my brother was in the custody of Cargo guys,” Zulkarnain said.
‘Cargo’ is a counter-insurgency police camp located in Srinagar.
He added that on Tuesday morning the family came to know that Rizwan was “killed in cargo.”
“It is a cold-blooded custodial murder,” Zulkarnain alleged.
“My brother was innocent. He was running a tuition center and was working as a Principal of a local private school. We fail to understand what his crime was and why was he killed?” he said.
Zulkarnain added that his brother was not affiliated with any militant organisation.
“He was associated with Jamaat-e-Islami. Is that a crime? My father too is a member of Jamaat,” he said.
The family, later in the day, refused to take back the body from Police Control Room Srinagar amid protests and clashes in Awantipora.
Mubashir, Rizwan’s elder sibling, told The Kashmir Monitor over the phone that the family was asked to receive the body from Police Control Room, Srinagar, however, they refused telling the police that they should themselves bring the body back.
“Finally the Awantipora police handed over the body along with other documentation. We will perform the jinazah by 9 pm (Tuesday),” Mubashir said.
He added that Rizwan was arrested on “frivolous” charges, slapped with Public Safety Act (PSA) on 26 August 2018, and shifted to Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu, where he was kept for five months.
The PSA, he added, was eventually quashed by a local court in Pulwama but the police kept detaining Rizwan and released him on January 6, around 20 days after the court order.
“Since then, he was busy with his routine work and was living a normal life,” he said.
Mubashir said that Rizwan’s body carried clear torture marks.
“His left eye had completely blackened, his nose was still bleeding and there were several torture marks on his body. His stomach had swollen a lot. It clearly shows he died of torture,” he said.
A police spokesperson said that Rizwan was a “suspect” in a militancy case investigation.
“He died in police custody. In this matter, while following the procedure laid down in section 176 of CRPC, a magisterial inquiry is underway. Separately police investigation has also been initiated in the jurisdictional area of the incident,” police said.
Unconfirmed reports had linked Rizwan’s detention with recent NIA raids, however, a spokesperson of NIA denied their link with the case.
“Emphatically deny reports linking NIA with Rizwan Ahmad of Awantipora. He was neither called for questioning nor was he examined at any other location in connection with cases being investigated by NIA,” the NIA spokesperson said in a statement.
In the evening, District Magistrate Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, told a local news agency that they have started proceedings into the case under the magisterial probe.
“The inquiry will be conducted by the Additional Commissioner Srinagar. We will complete the probe soon and submit the report to the government,” news agency Kashmir News Service quoted Choudhary saying.
Soon after the news about the killing was shared, youth came out protesting in parts of south Kashmir and Srinagar.
The authorities at Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) in Awantipora had already closed the varsity as a precautionary measure.
In Srinagar, shopkeepers at Maisuma and downtown areas including Nowhatta and Rajouri Kadal downed the shutters in protest.

NIA denies involvement

Srinagar, Mar 19: Amid outrage over the death of an Awantipora resident in police custody, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday said the deceased was not examined by the probe agency.
“NIA emphatically denies reports linking NIA with Rizwan Ahmed resident of Awantipora,” the probe agency said, in a statement, issued on Tuesday.
“He was neither called for questioning nor was he examined at any other location in connection with cases being investigated by NIA.”
Rizwan Assad Pandith (28) died in the custody at CARGO camp in Srinagar last night, triggering widespread condemnations and protests in Kashmir.
Separatists have called shutdown in Kashmir tomorrow to protests his custodial death.
Earlier, reports had said that Pandith was detained by the NIA few days ago.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Twitter that Rizwan was, as per sources, picked up by NIA few days ago and was lodged in CARGO camp.

Spontaneous shutdown, clashes in several areas

Srinagar, Mar 19: The custodial killing of a private school teacher from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district Tuesday triggered a spontaneous shutdown at many places in Awantipora and old-city areas here.
28-year-old Rizwan Assad Pandith, a post-graduate in Chemistry, who worked as teacher at a local private school and also ran a tuition institute, was killed in police custody during the intervening night of March 18 and 19.
As soon as the news of his death went public on Tuesday, all the shops and business establishments were closed in Awantipora soon and the local youth engaged in clashes with government forces.
Police said that a probe is underway while as the separate police investigation has also been launched.
The students of Kashmir University also staged a protest against the custodial death of the youth and against summoning of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
The students assembled in the premises of Kashmir University and raised slogans.
The students demanded investigation into the death of a youth. They also termed the summoning of Mirwaiz to National Investigation Agency (NIA) as ‘interference in religious affairs’, saying such acts must be stopped forthwith.

 

His death exposes helplessness of Kashmiris: Mirwaiz

Srinagar, Mar 19: Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Tuesday said that the custodial killing of a school teacher has once again exposed the “helplessness” of the people of Kashmir.
“Distraught at the brutal custodial killing of young Rizwan Ahmed of Awantipora. The brutal killing once again exposes the, helplessness, vulnerability and insecurity of the lives of Kashmiri’s as impunity to the authorities keeps rising. (sic),” Mirwaiz wrote on Twitter.
Earlier, both the former chief ministers of the state, National Conference’s Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti lashed out at the government of India over the custodial killing of a school teacher.
On Tuesday, a school teacher, identified as Rizwan Pandith, died in police custody at CARGO camp in Srinagar.
A resident of a resident of Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, Rizwan was arrested by the police few days back from his home.
A police official said that Rizwan died during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.
The Jammu Kashmir Police department has asked for a magisterial inquiry.

Continue Reading

Lead Stories

Joint Hurriyat calls for shutdown today

Avatar

Published

on

Srinagar, Mar 19: Joint Hurriyat Leadership Tuesday called for a complete shutdown on Wednesday against the custodial killing of 28-year-old school teacher Rizwan Asad Pandith of Awantipora.
Joint Hurriyat, as per a statement, strongly condemned the killing of Rizwan, who was picked up by police a few days ago and was killed in custody at SOG camp Cargo.
Paying tributes to Rizwan and expressing deep grief and sorrow at his ‘killing’, Joint Hurriyat expressed sympathy with his bereaved family.
Terming this killing as ‘gruesome’, the leadership said that “this custodial killing is not only one of its kind but prior to this, hundreds and thousands of young and old Kashmiris have been killed in this manner.”
“This killing has actually increased the vulnerability of Kashmiri inmates languishing in different jails of India and jails of Jammu Kashmir, and jeopardized their lives,” they said.
Announcing a comprehensive protest program against this ‘state terrorism’, the leadership said “people will observe a complete and comprehensive protest strike on Wednesday, March 20, against the gruesome custodial killing of Rizwan Asad, policies of intimidation and harassment by police, SOG and other Indian investigative agencies, arbitrary arrests, slapping of draconian PSA, summoning political activists to SOG camps and thus creating atmosphere of fear in Jammu Kashmir.”
Joint Hurriyat appealed all segments of society including traders, lawyers, bar association, civil society, and others from different walks of life to peacefully protest against the custodial killing and assaults on Kashmiris.
On Friday, March 22, after Friday prayers, people at all Masajid, Khanqahs and Imam Baras will raise their voices peacefully against this custodial death and continuing policy of ‘oppression, Joint Hurriyat said.
Joint Hurriyat said that those who raise their voice against the killing of youth, their arrests and slapping with PSA are branded as “anti-national “and threatened with dire consequences and intimidation. “While crackdown and arrest spree against political and religious activists and youth continues unabated on the other hand SOG has been calling political activists and youth to SOG cargo camp to intimidate them and create an atmosphere of fear among people in general,” they said.
Joint Hurriyat said through their investigative agencies NIA and ED, the authorities have let loose a reign of terror to instill fear among people and harass them.
“People of Kashmir have borne tremendous hardships and suffering for the last three decades especially, all because they are asking for an end to the conflict through peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute as per the people’s wishes but instead people are being crushed,” Joint Hurriyat said.

Continue Reading

Lead Stories

Thing of our dark past: Omar, Mehbooba, ors condemn killing

Avatar

Published

on

Srinagar, Mar 19: The mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday condemned the custodial killing of a youth from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, who was arrested in connection with a ‘militancy case’ on Sunday.
Soon after the news about the death of youth in custody spread, the political parties and leaders took to the micro-blogging social networking site and condemned the custodial killing.
Former chief minister and National Conference Vice President, Omar Abdullah said the custodial death was unacceptable and must be investigated in transparent and time bound manner.
“I had hoped custodial deaths were a thing of our dark past. This is an unacceptable development & must be investigated in a transparent, time bound manner. Exemplary punishment must be handed out to the killers of this young man,” Omar tweeted.
The former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief, Mehbooba Mufti said GoI’s repressive approach leaves young educated men vulnerable who are forced to take up arms, saying ‘we have suffered enough’.
“Innocent men hauled up from their homes for interrogation return home only in coffins now. GoI’s repressive approach leaves young educated men vulnerable who are forced to take up arms. Stop using Kashmir to exhibit your sick chauvinistic nationalism. We have suffered enough,” Mehbooba tweeted.
Peoples Conference (PC) chairman and former minister Sajad Gani Lone in a tweet condemned the custodial death of a youth, saying ‘this is what the sanctity of human life has been reduced to in Kashmir.’
“Condemn in strongest terms the death in police custody in Pulwama. This is what the sanctity of human life has been reduced to in Kashmir. My thoughts r with the family of the deceased,” Sajad tweeted.
Peoples Conference (PC) General Secretary and former minister, Imran Raza Ansari condemned the custodial death of a youth from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district today.
Ansari demanded time bound inquiry into the custodial death of a youth. He expressed solidarity with the bereaved family and also for their courage to bear this loss.
Former finance minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also demanded a time bound probe into the ‘extra judicial killing’ of the youth.
Expressing serious concern over the incident, Bukhari expressed his heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved family and prayed for eternal peace to the departed soul.
“It is highly unfortunate that a young man, teacher by profession, has lost his life in police custody and it needs to be thoroughly investigated to know what went wrong and who are responsible for his death in custody,” Bukhari demanded.
Demanding judicial enquiry into the alleged custodial killing of a 28-year-old Awantipora school teacher, CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said no civilized society can tolerate such acts.
“The custodial death of Rizwan Pandith must be investigated in a transparent and time bound manner and government must order a judicial enquiry into the incident immediately. Custodial killing isn’t acceptable to any human being and whosoever is involved Pandith’s killing must be given exemplary punishment. Custodial killing is a brutality and brutalities are unacceptable in whatever form they are,” Tarigami said.
Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) chairman and former MLA Khansahib, Hakeem Muhammad Yaseen also condemned the death of a youth in custody, demanding time bound inquiry into the incident.
In a statement issued, Hakeem said, “Such killings are unfortunate and are highly condemnable. We have been raising voice that repressive measures will yield no results. We demand a time bound judicial inquiry to be ordered and the persons involved in it be punished so that such incidents are not repeated,” he said.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Latest News50 mins ago

Mayawati won’t contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati will not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “Our coaliation is doing good…I can...

Latest News57 mins ago

Traffic on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway suspended due to inclement weather

JAMMU: The traffic on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was suspended Wednesday as the high altitude areas of Jammu and...

Latest News1 hour ago

Uri resident injured in Pak firing succumbs at SKIMS

BARAMULLA: A 32-year-old youth, who was critically injured in Pakistan firing at Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector on...

Latest News1 hour ago

Don’t use places of worship for propaganda: EC to parties, religious leaders

New Delhi: The Election Commission asked political parties and religious leaders to refrain from using places of worship for propaganda...

Latest News1 hour ago

‘Azaan’ to be broadcast nationally in solidarity with Muslims: NZ PM

Christchurch: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday said Azaan (the call to prayer) will be broadcast nationally along...

Latest News1 hour ago

President Kovind appoints Justice PC Ghose as India’s first Lokpal

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose as the first Lokpal of India. According to a...

Latest News1 hour ago

Heavy snow accumulation may delay Zojilla re-opening

Sonamarg, Mar 20 : With Sonamarg-Zojilla road still closed since December, officials said the reopening of the road is likely...

Latest News1 hour ago

Kashmir shuts against Awantipora teacher’s custodial death

Srinagar, Mar 20: A complete shutdown called by the JointHurriya against the custodial death of a private school teacher of...

Subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor and receive notifications of new stories by email.

Join 1,000,222 other subscribers

Archives

March 2019
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
Advertisement