Monday, February 13, 2012

Pakistan PM Yousuf Raza Gilani charged with contempt

Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani has been charged with contempt in an appearance before the country's Supreme Court.

Mr Gilani is accused of failing to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The prime minister, who faces jail and being barred from office if convicted, pleaded not guilty.

Mr Gilani argues that the president, who denies the corruption charges, has immunity as head of state.

President Zardari is accused of using Swiss bank accounts to launder bribes.

The Supreme Court has said Mr Gilani defied a court order to write to the Swiss authorities and ask them to re-open the cases against Mr Zardari. 

Mr Gilani is expected to argue that he received legal advice that it would have been unconstitutional to pursue the cases.

Mr Zardari says the charges against him are politically motivated.

Helicopters hovered overhead and hundreds of riot police were guarding the Supreme Court as Mr Gilani arrived.

Lengthy process
The case has now been adjourned until 28 February. Mr Gilani will not have to appear on that date. 

This could now become a lengthy process as even if Mr Gilani is convicted, he will have the right to appeal, reports the BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad.

The case is part of a stand-off between the government and the judiciary, which many believe is being backed by the military as it pursues the case against the civilian administration.

Many are concerned that the case will distract Mr Gilani's focus from Pakistan's many complex problems to his own survival, our correspondent adds.

"It's a sad day for Pakistan," Qamar Zaman Kaira, a senior member of Mr Zardari and Mr Gilani's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), said outside court, according to AFP.

In 2009 the Supreme Court overturned an amnesty dating from the period of former President Pervez Musharraf which protected President Zardari and hundreds of other politicians from being prosecuted for corruption.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera television last week, Mr Gilani acknowledged he would have to stand down if convicted.

"If I'm convicted, then I'm not even supposed to be a member of the parliament," he said. 

Humayun Faridi passes away

Humayun Faridi :
Renowned actor Humayun Faridi died at his Dhanmondi residence in the capital Monday morning. He was 60. 

Faridi, a popular actor in television drama, theatre and cinema, breathed his last around 10:00am. 

Rubel, a guard of his house, found Faridi on the floor of his bathroom in the morning. 

Faridi was admitted to a city hospital recently as he was suffering from anemia, which reduced hemoglobin level in his body. He was discharged from the hospital on Saturday, reports ABC Radio.

He got head injury when he fell on the floor of the bathroom, the radio adds.

Faridi had been living a lonely life after his divorce with eminent actress Suborna Mustafa in 2008.

The first namaz-e-janaza of Faridi was held in front of his residence at Dhanmondi-9/A around 12:45pm while the second at BTV complex at Rampura. 

His body will be kept at Birdem mortuary after another namaz-e-janaza at Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (FDC).

The body will be taken to the central Shaheed Minar Tuesday morning for his well-wishers and fans from of all walks of life to pay respect to him. 

Born in Dhaka on May 29, 1952, Faridi was well-known for his extra-ordinary roles in different dramas like Songsaptak (1987-88), Pathar Shomoy(1989), Dui bhai (1990), Shiter Pakhi (1991), Kothao Keu Nei (1990), Shomudre Gangchil (1993) and Kachher Manush. 

In the middle of his career, he joined films and won the hearts of millions by his work. Some of his prominent movies are: Hulia,Dohon, Shontrash, Bachelor, JoyJatra Shamolchaya, Bhohubrihi, Ekattorer Jishu,Mayer Morjada and Aha.

President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have expressed her deep shock at the death of the veteran actor, UNB reports.

They prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed sincere sympathy to the bereaved family members.