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Friday, July 19, 2024

Journalist Spat On By Nawaz Sharif’s Driver in London

A shocking video has surfaced online showing former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s driver spitting on a woman’s face in London’s Hyde Park. The footage, which has been shared on social media, shows the woman approaching the vehicle of the 73-year-old politician, who was riding in the front seat. The woman, recording the incident on her mobile phone, asked Nawaz Sharif if he was corrupt. The man appeared irritated by the question and responded by spitting on her face.

The incident triggered outrage among Internet users who slammed Nawaz Sharif and his driver for the act. “It’s a shame that such people have occupied high offices and still are not bothered by human rights,” wrote one user. “It’s time for the government of the UK to take strict action against these two.”

Nawaz Sharif has been in self-imposed exile in London since November last year after a court disqualified him from office in corruption cases. He had been convicted in two corruption cases in the country and was barred from holding public office. He is currently in the city to tend to his wife Kulsoom, who has cancer and is in a coma at a hospital in London. According to his younger brother and PML-N leader, Shehbaz Sharif, he is expected to return to Pakistan this month.

In cahoots with top judges, the former leader has argued that the military is using cases against him and his family to tilt the electoral balance in favor of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan ahead of elections due to be held later this year. He was a close ally of the military regime of dictator Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s but fell out with powerful generals when he became prime minister a decade later.

Pakistan has long been plagued by violence and corruption, with the police frequently abusing their power by torturing prisoners and conducting politically driven investigations and campaigns of defamation against politicians, officials, and business figures. In May, Asif Zardari, husband of former PPP President Benazir Bhutto, accused police of torturing him during interrogation in Karachi.

Several people arrested under the Sharif Government have reported torture in custody. In several cases, police or intelligence services entered the homes of those suspected of being opponents or critics and arrested them without warrants or due process. On January 4, for example, police allegedly tortured two members of parliament from the opposition MQM party at Karachi Central Prison and slapped them repeatedly on the face and back, keeping them awake for days, beat them with rifle butts, and tied them to chairs, causing them physical pain.

The police also have abused their powers by arresting individuals who have been critical of the Sharif Government, including journalists. On several occasions, the police or intelligence services have raided the homes of Friday Times editor Najam Sethi and opposition politician Hussain Haqqani, beating them and tying them up before arresting them without warrants (see Section 2. c). In both cases, the victims were incommunicado for days or weeks before being charged.

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