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Pakistan ex-PM Khan given three-year jail sentence

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Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been given three-year jail sentence over corruption allegations.

Mr Khan was found guilty of not declaring money earned from selling gifts he received in office. He denies the charges and says he will appeal.

After the verdict, Mr Khan was taken into custody from his home in Lahore.

In a pre-recorded statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, he told his supporters: “I have only one appeal, don’t sit at home silently.”

The former cricketer-turned-politician, 70, was elected in 2018, but was ousted in a no-confidence vote last year after falling out with Pakistan’s powerful military.

Mr Khan is facing more than 100 cases brought against him since his removal – charges he says are politically motivated.

Saturday’s verdict centred on charges that he incorrectly declared details of presents from foreign dignitaries and proceeds from their alleged sale.

The gifts – reported to be worth more than 140m Pakistani rupees ($635,000; £500,000) – included Rolex watches, a ring and a pair of cuff links.

“His dishonesty has been established beyond doubt,” judge Humayun Dilawar wrote in his ruling.

Mr Khan’s barrister Gohar Khan said the verdict was “a murder of justice”.

“We weren’t even given a chance. We weren’t even allowed to cross [examine], to say anything in defence or conduct our arguments. I haven’t seen this kind of injustice before,” he told Dawn newspaper.

As the court decision was announced, a crowd, which included some prosecuting lawyers, began chanting “Imran Khan is a thief” outside the building.

His party, Tehreek-e-Insaf, confirmed to the BBC that after being arrested in Lahore, Mr Khan was flown to the capital, Islamabad, to begin serving his sentence.

For months he had avoided arrest, with his supporters at times fighting pitched battles with police to keep him out of custody.

In May, Mr Khan was arrested for not appearing at court as requested. He was then released, with the arrest declared illegal.

Since then, his party has been under intense pressure from the authorities.

Many senior officials have left and thousands of supporters have been arrested, accused of being involved in the protests that followed Mr Khan’s arrest.

When questioned by BBC HARDTalk as to whether he had created an atmosphere of hostility to the military resulting in violence, Mr Khan said he and his party had never advocated the use of violence and had a record of peaceful protest.

Mr Khan said the army in Pakistan was “petrified” of elections which his party would win “hands-down” and, for that reason, “they’re dismantling a democracy”.

Pakistan’s army plays a prominent role in politics, sometimes seizing power in military coups, and, on other occasions, pulling levers behind the scenes.

Many analysts believe Mr Khan’s election win in 2018 happened with the help of the military.

In opposition, he has been one of its most vocal critics, and analysts say the army’s popularity has fallen.

Since being ousted, Mr Khan has been campaigning for early elections.

Conviction would disqualify Mr Khan from standing for office, possibly for life.

Pakistan’s parliament will be dissolved on August 9, leaving a caretaker government to take over in the run up to the elections.

No election date has been announced, although constitutionally they should take place by early November.

Source – BBC

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Dr. Shelton Premarathne passes away

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Legendary Sri Lankan music composer Dr. Shelton Premarathne has passed away today (May 30) at the age of 94.

He had been living with his son in Sydney, Australia, at the time of his demise.

Dr Premaratne has contributed to Sinhala cinema, theatre and classical Sri Lankan music. 

He was the music composer and director in over 30 stage productions, including Henry Jayasena’s popular theatre production Hunuwataye Kathawa (The Caucasian Chalk Circle), and 21 Sinhala films including films such as Daskon, Romeo Juliet Kathawak and Hithaka Pipunu Mal.

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Indian-owned ship held in Colombo after oil spill; travel ban imposed on captain

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The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) has taken custody of a ship which had caused an oil spill while anchored at the Colombo Port.

A spokesperson of the MEPA stated that legal action has been initiated against the company that owns the ship and the relevant insurance company regarding the oil spill. Under the Marine Environment Protection Authority Act, the MEPA is seeking compensation for the incident, the authority revealed.

The ship, owned by an Indian company, had recently arrived at the Port of Colombo for maintenance activities. A special investigation conducted by MEPA had revealed a leak of hydraulic oil from the ship. The company’s owner has admitted to the incident and agreed to provide compensation, according to the MEPA.

Furthermore, the Colombo Magistrate Court has imposed a travel ban on the captain of the ship preventing him from leaving the country, as per a request made by the Colombo Port Police.

(This story, originally published by adaderana.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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5 companies fined Rs. 1,243 Mn. for illegal gold imports

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State Finance Minister Dr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that five companies have been identified for illegally importing gold into Sri Lanka during the past few years, and fines of Rs.1,243 million have been imposed on those companies.

The Minister said that one of the related companies was ordered to pay Rs.179 million as fines.

Emphasising that from now on, all licensed institutions carrying out import of gold goods should avoid these illegal acts, the Minister said that the relevant institutions will also be charged fines for the gold purchased by even third parties considering the production reports.

He said the efforts to stabilise the state revenue of the country are currently being carried out by closing all the loopholes related to the loss of state revenue gradually.

Certain parties who import gold goods have turned this into a big racket and therefore there is a mafia around it.There were various challenges and threats when the government tried to curb this mafia initially.

The Minister further said that there were various levels of threats, pressure and intimidation, and the government did not waver in the face of all these challenges and moved to the second step.

(dailynews.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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