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Sharif Saga
Court orders arrest of Shahbaz
Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad

An accountability court in Rawalpindi on Friday declined the request of the government to issue an arrest warrant against former Premier Nawaz Sharif and brother Shahbaz Sharif in corruption and bank fraud cases filled against them by the National Accountability Bureau.

But in another case, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore issued arrest orders against Shahbaz in connection with the extra-judicial killing of five hoodlums in a fake police encounter in April 1998. At that time he was the Chief Minister of Punjab.

Judge Khalid Mahmood of the Rawalpindi accountability court refused plea of government counsel Zulfiuqa Bhutta seeking arrest of Sharif brothers for involvement in corruption and bank fraud cases. Bhutta said the court itself had the authority to register such cases and arrest the offenders.

But the judge adjourned hearing till September 13 while observing that if the accountability court has the authority to arrest anybody it should go ahead against the Sharifs.

Both brothers are due to return on Monday after seven years of exile in abroad.

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Mush will contest in uniform

Islamabad, September 7
President Gen Pervez Musharraf will seek re-election in uniform between September 15 and October 15. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting chaired by Musharraf and attended by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, President's top aides, attorney-general and representatives of intelligence agencies, sources said.

The meeting, according to the Dawn, ended speculation about the early dissolution of assemblies. It was decided that this would be discussed after Musharraf's re-election.

The attorney-general briefed the meeting in detail about the constitutional position of Musharraf's re-election and highlighted some aspects of the legal battle being fought in the Supreme Court.

The meeting was informed that the schedule for the presidential election was expected to be announced by the election commission by September 15.

On the issue of Nawaz Sharif's return, it was unanimously felt that Sharif would “not dare to return, and would probably cancel his plan so as not to annoy his Saudi benefactors.” The meeting also discussed the ongoing talks with Benazir Bhutto. — ANI

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