Thousands attend funeral of Pakistani ex-PM’s wife in Lahore

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People surround an ambulance carries a body of Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of Pakistani jailed former minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP)
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People attend funeral of Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of Pakistani jailed former minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP)
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Pakistani jailed former minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, center, prays during a funeral of his wife Kulsoom Nawaz with his brother Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP)
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Pakistani jailed former minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, center, arrives to attend the funeral of his wife Kulsoom Nawaz in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP)
Updated 14 September 2018

Thousands attend funeral of Pakistani ex-PM’s wife in Lahore

  • Kulsoom Nawaz, 68, was one of the country’s most well-regarded politicians.
  • She died on Tuesday after months of lying in critical condition at a London hospital.

LAHORE: Thousands of mourners attended the funeral of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s wife in the eastern city of Lahore on Friday.
Kulsoom Nawaz, 68, was one of the country’s most well-regarded politicians. She died on Tuesday after months of lying in critical condition at a London hospital. She had undergone surgery for throat cancer last year.
Her body was brought to her home city of Lahore by plane early Friday, and she was laid to rest at her family’s graveyard.
Sharif, who was temporarily freed from prison along with his daughter and her husband, attended his wife’s funeral, as an estimated 10,000 of his supporters gathered outside his house to express their condolences.
Sharif and his two detained family members are serving prison terms for convictions on corruption charges.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court last year disqualified Sharif from holding office and later an anti-graft tribunal convicted him and his relatives. He served as prime minister three times during his political career, which began in the 1980s.
Sharif will be returned to jail along with his daughter and her husband on Monday, when a court is expected to rule on his bail application.
Sharif’s two sons, who live in Britain, missed their mother’s funeral in Lahore. They did not return home to avoid potential arrest over corruption cases. Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz attended a separate funeral for their mother in London on Thursday.


Mauritius declares emergency as stranded ship spills fuel

Updated 7 min 48 sec ago

Mauritius declares emergency as stranded ship spills fuel

  • Mauritius declares emergency as stranded ship spills fuel

JOHANNESBURG: The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius declared a “state of environmental emergency” late Friday after a Japanese-owned ship that ran aground offshore days ago began spilling tons of fuel.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced the development as satellite images showed a dark slick spreading in the turquoise waters near environmental areas that the government called “very sensitive.”
Mauritius has said the ship was carrying nearly 4,000 tons of fuel and cracks have appeared in its hull.
Jugnauth earlier in the day said his government was appealing to France for help, saying the spill “represents a danger” for the country of some 1.3 million people that relies heavily on tourism and has been been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our country doesn’t have the skills and expertise to refloat stranded ships, so I have appealed for help from France and President Emmanuel Macron,” he said. Bad weather has made it impossible to act, and “I worry what could happen Sunday when the weather deteriorates.”
Jugnauth shared a photo of the vessel, the MV Wakashio, tilted precariously. “Sea rough beyond the reefs with swells. Ventures in the open seas are not advised,” according to the Mauritius Meteorological Services.
Video posted online showed oily waters lapping at the shore as people murmured and peered at the ship in the distance. Online ship trackers showed the Panama-flagged bulk carrier had been en route from China to Brazil.
The French island of Reunion is the closest neighbor to Mauritius, and France’s Foreign Ministry says France is Mauritius’s “leading foreign investor” and one of its largest trading partners.
“We are in a situation of environmental crisis,” the environment minister of Mauritius, Kavy Ramano, said, calling the Blue Bay Marine Park and other areas near the leaking ship “very sensitive.”
After the cracks in the hull were detected, a salvage team that had been working on the ship was evacuated, Ramano told reporters Thursday. Some 400 sea booms have been deployed in an effort to contain the spill.
Government statements this week said the ship ran aground July 25 and the National Coast Guard received no distress call. The ship’s owners were listed as the Japanese companies Okiyo Maritime Corporation and Nagashiki Shipping Co. Ltd.
A police inquiry has been opened into issues such as possible negligence, a government statement said.
Tons of diesel and oil are now leaking into the water, environmental group Greenpeace Africa’s climate and energy manager Happy Khambule said in a statement.
“Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d’Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’ economy, food security and health,” Khambule said.
A government environmental outlook released nearly a decade ago said Mauritius had a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan but equipment on hand was “adequate to deal with oil spills of less than 10 metric tons.”
In case of major spills, it said, assistance could be obtained from other Indian Ocean countries or from international oil spill response organizations.