Archive for the ‘allegations’ Category

Thailand: Britain Revokes Visa of Former PM Thaksin

November 8, 2008

Britain has revoked the visas of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife, Thailand‘s foreign ministry told AFP Saturday, after they fled to the UK to escape corruption allegations.

The ministry confirmed the entry ban after an airline official said the British Embassy in Bangkok had emailed all airlines informing them not to allow the couple to board flights to Britain.

AFP

“We have received confirmation from the British authorities that they have revoked former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife’s visas, but they did not give any explanation,” deputy foreign ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdee told AFP.

Thaksin, ousted in a 2006 coup, fled to Britain in early August after his wife was convicted on tax evasion charges, saying he would not receive a fair trial in Thailand.

Thailand's deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (R) ... 
Thailand’s deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (R) and his wife Pojaman (L). Britain has revoked the visas of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife, Thailand’s foreign ministry told AFP Saturday, after they fled to the UK to escape corruption allegations.(AFP/File/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

He has since been sentenced in absentia to two years in prison for conflict of interest after helping his wife buy state-owned land when he was prime minister. Four other corruption cases are outstanding against him.

His exact whereabouts on Saturday were unknown, but local media reported he was travelling from China to the Philippines.

Embassy officials have refused to comment, but in the email to airlines, seen by AFP, Bangkok-based immigration liaison manager Andy Gray, from the UK Border Agency wrote:

“The United Kingdom Border Agency has revoked the UK visas held by the following Thai nationals: Thaksin ShinawatraPotjaman Shinawatra,” listing the pair’s passport numbers.

“The UK visas contained in the passports of the individuals listed above are no longer valid for travel. Airlines are advised not to carry these passengers to the UK,” the email said.

Thaksin’s Thailand-based spokesman said he could not confirm the ban.

“What I can verify is that Thaksin has not received any document from the British authorities concerning this issue…. But if it’s true Thaksin can clarify the matter,” said Phonthep Thepkanjana.

In October a British Home Office spokesman said Thaksin and his wife had applied for political asylum, but people close to Thaksin were later quoted in Thai media as saying that report was incorrect.

Thaksin’s critics in Thailand, supported by a group called the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), have occupied the grounds of the prime minister’s offices since August, accusing the current government of running the country on his behalf.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081108/wl_afp/thailand
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Crisis in Pakistan: Musharraf, Bhutto and Sharif At Odds

November 3, 2007

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) (November 4, 2007)- Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule on Saturday, deploying troops and sacking a top judge in a bid to reassert his flagging authority against political rivals and Islamist militants.Nuclear-armed Pakistan’s internal security has deteriorated sharply in recent months with a wave of suicide attacks by al Qaeda-inspired militants, including one that killed 139 people.

State-run Pakistan Television said Musharraf had suspended the constitution and declared an emergency, ending weeks of speculation that the general who seized power in a 1999 coup might impose emergency rule or martial law.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a visit to Turkey, criticized the measures as “highly regrettable” and said she hoped Pakistan would have a free and fair election in January as promised.

Witnesses said troops were deployed at Pakistan Television and radio stations, and most phone lines were down. Other troops sealed off the thoroughfare where the presidency building, the National Assembly and the Supreme Court are located.

Shots were heard in several neighborhoods of Karachi, where there is strong support for former opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister.
Television channels said that Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, whose earlier dismissal in March marked the beginning of a slide in Musharraf’s popularity, had been told that his services were “no longer required.”

Chaudhry had been reinstated in July.

Musharraf had been awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on whether he was eligible to run for re-election last month while still army chief. The court had said on Friday it would reconvene on Monday and try to finish the case quickly.

Chaudhry and eight other judges refused to endorse the provisional constitutional order issued by the president.

LAWYER ARRESTED

Aitzaz Ahsan, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, told reporters at his home he was being arrested.

“One man has taken the entire nation hostage … Time has come for General Musharraf to go,” he said. Fellow lawyers shouted “Go Musharraf Go” as Ahsan was taken away by police.

The move is expected to put off parliamentary elections due in January, although Pakistan Television said that the cabinet, national and provincial assemblies would continue to function.

A senior security official told Reuters that Musharraf would seek approval for the move from the cabinet later, after which there were expectations he would address the nation.

The cabinet was due to start meeting at 7 pm (1400 GMT).

Musharraf had said he would quit as army chief if he was given a second term, and he had allowed Bhutto back into Pakistan to lead her party into the national elections.

A suicide bombing killed 139 people on Oct 19 when thousands of supporters flocked to the streets to welcome Bhutto when she returned to Karachi from eight years of self-imposed exile. She had flown to Dubai on Thursday.

Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari said she was already on a flight back to Pakistan from Dubai. He described Musharraf’s move as “definitely not pleasant news.”

“We’re hoping to build institutions, not destroy them.”

Exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, deposed by Musharraf in the 1999 coup, described his decision to invoke emergency powers as a form of martial law.

“We are heading towards a chaotic situation, heading towards anarchy,” Sharif told Indian news channel CNN-IBN in an interview replayed by Dawn Television in Pakistan.

Musharraf’s troubles began in March when he suspended Supreme Court Justice Chaudhry on allegations of misconduct.

Critics accused him of trying to put pressure on the court not to block his re-election and Musharraf’s popularity plummeted as lawyers rallied to support the top judge.

In July, after a week-long siege, Musharraf ordered troops to storm the Red Mosque in Islamabad to crush a Taliban-style movement based there.

At least 105 people were killed in the raid and a wave of deadly militant attacks and suicide bombings followed.

(Additional reporting by Simon Cameron-Moore, Simon Gardner and Zeeshan Haider)