Pakistan court orders arrest of Sharif's brother

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court Friday issued arrest warrants for the brother of former premier Nawaz Sharif, just days before the pair's scheduled return from exile, officials said.

Pakistan court orders arrest of Sharif's brother

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court Friday issued arrest warrants for the brother of former premier Nawaz Sharif, just days before the pair's scheduled return from exile, officials said.

Shahbaz Sharif has been charged with ordering the killing of five people in an allegedly fake police encounter during his 1997-99 tenure as chief minister in Punjab province, his lawyer said.

The brothers, arch rivals of President Pervez Musharraf who ousted Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999, are due to arrive back in Islamabad on Monday.

"The anti terrorism court judge Shabbir Hussain Chatha has ordered police to arrest Shahbaz Sharif and produce him before the court," their laywer Aftab Bajwa told AFP.

The court has ordered that "Shahbaz Sharif should be arrested whichever airport he lands at," he said.

According to the prosecution, police in 1998 killed five students from an Islamic schoolm or madrassa on the orders of Shahbaz Sharif, who suspected them to be involved in acts of terrorism.

"We will adopt all legal methods to defend their rights," said a senior member of the Sharifs' faction of the Pakistan Muslim League party, Siddiqul Farooq.

"On May 11 2004 Shahbaz Sharif tried to come back to face the charges but he was forcibly sent back."

Industrialist-turned-politician Nawaz Sharif was himself sentenced to life in prison on tax evasion and treason charges after Musharraf toppled him.

Under a deal brokered by the Saudi royal family, Musharraf released him in December 2000 on condition that he and his family live in exile in Saudi Arabia for 10 years.

But the Sharifs won a Supreme Court battle against their banishment in August, after which they vowed to return home on September 10 to fight what Nawaz called a "decisive battle against dictatorship in Pakistan."

AFP

Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2007, 12:43
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