Wife of ousted Pakistani PM to seek his Parliament seat

Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif. (Reuters file photo)
Updated 12 August 2017

Wife of ousted Pakistani PM to seek his Parliament seat

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: The wife of ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will contest a special election for the parliamentary seat he was forced to vacate after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office, party officials said.
Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif will be the candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party in the by-election to be held in about 45 days, Sharif adviser Asif Kirmani told reporters in the eastern city of Lahore.
The announcement comes as Nawaz Sharif leads a “homecoming” caravan to Lahore that has drawn thousands of supporters. Sharif on Thursday described his removal last month by the top court over unreported income as “an insult to the mandate of 200 million voters.”
The verdict marked a political victory for opposition leader Imran Khan, a former cricket star who led a campaign demanding Sharif’s wealth be investigated. Khan himself is facing a court case alleging undeclared assets.
The decision to put forward Sharif’s wife is in keeping with Pakistan’s tradition of dynastic politics and also indicates the former premier will likely remain involved behind the scenes.
Sharif’s ruling party last week elected one of his loyalists, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, as prime minister.
Party leaders have suggested Abbasi will hold office until elections due next year, a reversal of earlier indications that Sharif’s younger brother, Shahbaz, would seek the vacant seat and later take over as premier.
There is also talk in the party ranks that Kulsoom herself could become prime minister once elected to Parliament, but a Sharif aide said it was too early to speculate.
Kulsoom, who has never run for office, will be canvassing for votes in Sharif’s political stronghold inside Lahore’s Walled City, where her husband has never lost.
“We will, God willing, win this seat with a big majority,” Muhammad Safdar, Sharif’s son-in-law who is also a member of Parliament, said as he stood beside Kirmani.
Kulsoom has always stood by her husband throughout a political career that has seen him elected and then ousted as prime minister three times.
In 2000, when army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf removed Sharif in a military coup, Kulsoom led protests in Lahore.
In one of the protests, she locked herself in a car for several hours, refusing to let police arrest her. Police had to tow her car and then lift it with a crane to drive miles back to her home.


COVID-19 spread harder to control without common effort says French PM as daily cases double

Updated 11 August 2020

COVID-19 spread harder to control without common effort says French PM as daily cases double

  • French health authorities reported 1,397 new COVID-19 infections over 24 hours on Tuesday
  • New clusters have mushroomed as people let their hair down on holiday, families hold reunions and workers return to offices

PARIS: The renewed spread of coronavirus in France could become harder to control without a collective effort to stop a rise in the infection rate, its prime minister said on Tuesday.
The public was becoming careless, Jean Castex warned, after official data recorded nearly 5,000 new COVID-19 cases from Saturday to Monday. The epidemic has now killed more than 30,300 people in France.
French health authorities reported 1,397 new COVID-19 infections over 24 hours on Tuesday, almost twice Monday’s tally.
The Health Ministry website said there were 15 new deaths in hospital due the disease, compared to an increase of 16 over a three-day period between Monday and Saturday,
“If we don’t act collectively, we expose ourselves to the heightened risk that the rebound in the epidemic becomes hard to control,” Castex said during a visit to a hospital intensive care ward in southern France.
France’s 7-day moving average of new infections climbed to 1,640 on Monday from 1,056 on July 31. The 7-day measure reached a post lockdown low of 272 on May 27, a little over 2 weeks after the government eased one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.
But as in most neighboring European countries, new clusters have mushroomed as people let their hair down on holiday, families hold reunions and workers return to offices and France is desperate to avoid another full-scale lockdown.
Britain has said it will not hesitate putting more countries on its quarantine list, including France, where hordes of Britons spend their summer vacations.
Earlier on Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron held a video conference with top ministers from his Riviera summer retreat.
During the meeting, it was decided France would draw up new restrictions for the 20 largest cities to curb the rising infection rate and that a ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people would be extended until Oct. 31.
Some cities have already taken action. Paris on Monday joined Toulouse, Lille, Biarritz and others in imposing a mandatory face mask order in crowded outdoor zones. They are already compulsory nationwide in shops and banks.
The prime minister said testing was “more than satisfactory,” with more than 600,000 tests being conducted weekly, but said more could still be done to target those with symptoms, the prime minister said.
Talking of the risk of another lockdown, Castex said: “no one wants to live through that again.”