Zimbabwe is facing another interesting legal battle, with the ruling party Zanu PF and its officials being sued for failing to adhere to the party’s constitution in elevating Emmerson Mnangagwa as its leader.
We have already seen a similar case involving the leadership of the opposition MDC-T and seen its political ramifications. Mnangagwa and his lawyers know it too, and last week tried to arm-twist Zanu PF activist Sybeth Musengezi to withdraw his High Court application. We only hope that the President’s lawyers were just being excitable.
Based on the lawyers’ letter, the first logical conclusion is that there is admission on the President’s part that this is a case he is could lose and wants it to stop instantly without any further interaction with the courts.
That argument justifies the long-held suspicion on the legality of how Mnangagwa took over power via a coup when he had clearly lost the boardroom to the G40 cabal that had coalesced around his ex-boss, the late Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, leading to his expulsion for “lacking probity.”
The argument, that he only had the army to thank for coming out of the barracks to reverse the legal termination of his contract by Mugabe and force him into the hearts and minds of Zanu PF supporters, has been in the public dormain for some time, though in hushed tones.
ED must let his lawyers act like sticklers to the rule of law and allow due process to take its course and expose Musengezi for who he is if, indeed, he is as dubious as the lawyers claim.
The letter exposes the fear by his lawyers that Musengezi has a plausible case against him.
There is also an assumption that Musengezi could not have acted alone so there must be some heavy political capital behind him.
The phobia in Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF of the G40 cabal is legendary and that’s why everyone who cries out loud for democracy and respect of the law in the party immediately painted with the G40 brush.
Musengezi approached the courts in October challenging the Zanu PF central committee processes that led to ED assuming the party leadership.
Let the courts rule on the matter, and the President’s lawyers should desist from intimidating him or his lawyers.
The threat to sue Musengezi’s lawyers for allegedly approaching the courts with a case “devoid of merit and brought for ulterior motives” is laughable coming from interested parties and unfortunate if they represent a whole President.
Last year, a damning report revealed a worrying trend on the systematic arrest of lawyers since the beginning of 2020, two years after Mnangagwa came into power.
The report, launched virtually by the Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights titled: Attacks on Human Rights Lawyers in Zimbabwe, noted how lawyers have been barred from representing their clients, subjected to arbitrary arrests and sometimes attacked for practising their profession.
At least 15 lawyers were arrested and barred from carrying out their duties since the beginning of 2020, according to the report.
That is unacceptable in a democracy if indeed Zimbabwe is one.
There is no need to threaten lawyers, especially in a case before the courts.
As a lawyer, Mnangagwa should know better.
Covid News Live Updates: Maharashtra reports its first case of Omicron variant; India tally reaches 4 – Economic Times
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Jaisalmer | PM made a very big decision that cards be issued to CAPF jawans & their families. Through that, they & their families can avail treatment at any hospital for any disease. With a swipe of the card at the hospital, the process will begin: HM at Rohitash Border outpost
Man, who returned from foreign country, to Kalyan Dombivali municipal area near Mumbai, tests positive for Omicron variant of coronavirus: Maha health department director.
Maharashtra man who travelled to Mumbai from South Africa via Dubai, Delhi found positive for Omicron; 4th case in India: Official sources
France imposed new rules on travelers from outside the European Union to slow the spread of the omicron variant
Assam CM HB Sarma today announced names of 19 personalities chosen for 3 newly-instituted awards- Asom Baibhav, Asom Sourav & Asom Gourav, “to honour their exemplary services towards society”
Cyclonic Storm Jawad weakened into a Deep Depression at 1730 hrs IST of today, it is about 180 km east-southeast of Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), 260 km south of Gopalpur (Odisha , 330 km south-southwest of Puri (Odisha) and 420 km south-southwest of Paradip (Odisha): IMD
Odisha: Some people take refuge in a shelter home in Puri set up by the state government in wake of Jawad Cyclone
As per the latest update by IMD, the cyclonic storm would weaken gradually during the next 6 hours, and reach near Puri around 5th December noon as a Deep Depression.
Employment is going to be the biggest issue in these elections. I give you a guarantee that within a short span of time we’ll give you a vision. All men have eyes, few have vision..:
– Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in Amritsar
Scope of Indo-Pak trade & these 34 countries is US$ 37 Billion. Right now we’re carrying out trade of only US$ 3 Billion, not even 5% of the potential. Punjab has suffered loss of Rs 4,000 Cr in last 34 months, 15,000 jobs lost:Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in Amritsar
People of Delhi only contribute to 31% of the total pollution. We need to make joint action plans along with NCR cities to overcome this issue. The entry of trucks is banned in Delhi, schools are closed and no construction work is allowed: Gopal Rai, Delhi Environment Minister
Bihar | Operation Theatre and Medicine shop of the local eye hospital in Muzaffarpur sealed after multiple patients lose eyesight following cataract surgery a few days ago
Senior journalist Vinod Dua passes away, confirms his daughter and actress Mallika Dua. His cremation will take place tomorrow, she posts.
Leaders of all farmer orgs said that they won’t go back unless cases against farmers are withdrawn. Today a clear cut signal has been sent out to Govt that we’re not going to take back the agitation unless all cases against farmers are taken back.
– Farmer leader Darshan Pal Singh
SKM says farmers will not move from protest sites till government withdraws cases registered against them during stir against farm laws.
Delhi reports 51 new COVID-19 cases, 61 recoveries and zero deaths in the last 24 hours.
Total cases 14,41,295
Total recoveries 14,15,875
Death toll 25,098
Active cases 322
Following first case of Omicron in Jamnagar, Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel reviewed the readiness of state health system, at a high-level meeting. He instructed to strictly implement new guidelines issued by the Government of India regarding Omicron variant in the state: CMO
West Bengal | Police baton-charge on youth who were not standing in a queue to submit forms for jobs in the Berhampore Stadium of Murshidabad district
#WATCH | West Bengal | Police baton-charge on youth who were not standing in a queue to submit forms for jobs in th… https://t.co/fEiDOuxRYI
— ANI (@ANI) 1638617038000
Delhi court grants bail to Peter Mukerjea in INX Media money laundering case
The Jawad Cyclone was observed moving northwards in the past 1 hour &will continue the same for the next 12 hours. Weakening trend in the intensity of the cyclone & expected to hit the coastal regions of Puri tomorrow and will weaken gradually.
– HR Biswas Director IMD Bhubaneshwar
SKM has formed a 5-member committee to talk to the Govt of India. It’ll be the authorised body to talk to the Government. The committee will have Balbir Singh Rajewal, Shiv Kumar Kakka, Gurnam Singh Charuni, Yudhvir Singh & Ashok Dhawale. Next meeting of SKM on 7th December
– Rakesh Tikait
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Rajasthan | Union Home Minister Amit Shah offered prayers at Tanot Rai Mata Mandir, Jaisalmer
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Pakistan’s Punjab province witnesses surge in dengue cases
India vs New Zealand 2nd Test: Kiwis all out for 62
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BJP in talks with Amarinder, Dhindsa for alliance in Punjab: Amit Shah
A person is found omicron positive in Jamnagar. We’ve isolated him & are monitoring him. A micro containment zone has been made where he is living. In the area, we will do the tracing, testing of people
– Manoj Aggarwal, ACS, Health & Family Welfare Dept, Gujarat
These political parties have come up with a way to make the public helpless, dependent & not strong. They want the public to be penurious so that their own crown stays in place
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India vs New Zealand: Kiwis lose two wickets in succession
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India vs New Zealand 2nd Test, day 2
- New Zealand 38/6, trail by 287 runs at tea, at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
- Mohammed Siraj takes 3 wickets for 19 runs
Omicron in Gujarat
- This is the first case of Omicron variant in Gujarat
- The case was found in Jamnagar
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- This is the third case of Omicron variant in the country.
Jamnagar man who returned from Zimbabwe found infected with Omicron variant of COVID-19: Gujarat health department
Russia confirms 32,974 new COVID-19 cases over past 24 hours
Our mountains & culture are not only our faith but also the fortresses of our country’s security. We prioritize ease of living for people living in the mountains. Unfortunately, it was nowhere in the policy strategy of those who remained in power for decades
Our government has constructed a national highway of more than 2 thousand kilometers in Uttarakhand in its seven years: Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Between 2007 and 2014, the central government built only 288 km of national highways in Uttarakhand in seven years: PM Modi
Today, I am very happy that the foundation stone of the Delhi-Dehradun Economic Corridor has been laid. When it is ready, the time taken to travel from Delhi to Dehradun will be almost halved
– PM Modi at Dehradun
Explosion occurs in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul
According to the witnesses, the blast occurred on Kabul’s Fifth Taimani Street, Tolo News reported. No casualties have been reported so far. Further details are awaited.
Smart City project envisages 5.5 km heritage corridor in Jammu
The heritage trail, being set up under the project ‘Heritage trail and site beautification’ will stretch 5.5 kilometre and will cost Rs 16.56 crore, officials said on Saturday. They said the JSCL held discussions with various stakeholders to seek their support for the project.
Chargesheet against former police commissioner Param Bir Singh
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SKM’s meeting to map further course of farmers’ agitation starts
Modi set to inaugurate & lay the foundation stone of multiple projects worth around Rs 18,000 crores in Uttarakhand today
Dehradun | PM Modi inspects the model of the Delhi-Dehradun Economic Corridor. The corridor will be built at a cost… https://t.co/7D1rhQccSe
— ANI (@ANI) 1638604714000
I’d like Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to be more active in preventing drugs smuggling & detecting toxic wastes that come into India, in time
– FM Nirmala Sitharaman
PM Modi inaugurates Delhi-Dehradun Economic Corridor
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– Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai
New Zealand’s Azaj Patel takes all 10 wickets in the innings
India all out for 325
Indraprastha Gas revises CNG rates in three states, w.e.f today
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- CNG price in Rewari Rs.61.10/- per Kg.
- Karnal & Kaithal prices at Rs.59.30/- per kg
- Ajmer, Pali and Rajsamand CNG prices now Rs.67.31/- per kg.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport reduces RTPCR rates
CSMIA has revised the rates of Rapid PCR test at a reduced cost of INR 3900 as against INR 4500 earlier.
AP CM Jagan, Chandra Babu Naidu mourn Rosaiah
Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu and a host of others on Saturday expressed profound grief over the demise of Konijeti Rosaiah, who served as the CM of the then united AP.
Former Andhra Pradesh CM Konijeti Rosaiah passes away at 89
Centre clears production of 5L AK-203 rifles ahead of Putin visit
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Agarwal’s century run continues for India vs New Zealand
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Continuous rains witnessed across the district, windspeeds of 50kmph at few locations; 79 cyclone shelters operation since yesterday. NDRF, SDRF, fire teams on alert and deployed across the district
– Andhra Pradesh officials
The visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin will take place on 6th Dec. He will be here for the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit. There will be a series of meetings. We foresee a very intensive engagement during the day and culminating with the Summit
– Ministry of External Affairs
Cyclone weakens after heavy rain, evacuation in southern India
- A tropical storm weakened after dumping heavy rains overnight in parts of southern India off the Bay of Bengal as more than 50,000 people evacuated to government-run camps, officials said Saturday.
- No loss of life or major damage has been reported so far from the rain-hit areas of Andhra Pradesh state.
- Kanna Babu, a state commissioner for disaster management, said 54,000 people who evacuated on Friday from vulnerable areas were waiting in nearly 200 state-run relief camps for the weather to clear before returning to their homes.
Omicron: Parliamentary panel recommends evaluation of vaccines
Amid growing concerns over the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, a parliamentary committee has recommended that the efficacy of Covid vaccines must be evaluated and the government conduct more research to examine the need for booster doses to contain the new strain. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, which presented its report on Friday, also said that concerns with regard to the new strain developing immunoescape mechanism should be critically addressed.
Omicron: Karnataka instructs medical colleges to be prepared
- Amid concern over the new COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ and possible third wave, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said that the state has instructed medical colleges across the state to make necessary preparations for every possibility.
- After chairing a video conference meeting with the directors of the medical colleges, on a possible third wave and the new Omicron virus-related treatment, the minister said, “There are 21 medical colleges offering health services at the district level. Everyone, including the HOD, Professors and senior doctors of medical colleges have been advised to stand up to the demand and provide effective treatment.”
India reports 8603 fresh Covid infections
Explained: The second violent run-in for Sri Lanka in Pakistan and lessons for India – The Indian Express
Priyantha Diyawadana Kumara, from Gampaha district near Colombo, an engineer and father of two, was on Friday beaten to death and his body burnt by a mob of hundreds, some of the workers at his factory, who accused him of committing blasphemy.
From the Prime Minister, to the chief of Army Staff, and others, even minister Sheikh Rasheed, a proud supporter of jihadist extremism, all stood unequivocally united in the condemnation of the incident, and promised swift action.
While Pakistan’s progressive civil society has always stood against such incidents as going to the core of what is broken within, this is perhaps the first time that a killing in the name of blasphemy has elicited such unanimous and unequivocal condemnation from the political class and the powerful army.
The strong official reactions may be due to the fact that the victim was a foreign national, from a South Asian country with which Islamabad has gone the extra mile to build ties. Pakistan is hyper-conscious about projecting a progressive image abroad.
This is the second time in the last 15 years that Sri Lanka, which has fair people-to-people ties with Islamabad, has found itself wrong-footed by Pakistan’s extremist violence. Pakistan is only too conscious of this. In the world of cricket, it is still paying a heavy price for the attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009 – other than the Zimbabwe team last year, Pakistan has not since been able to host a single foreign team, with the Kiwis too pulling out in September this year after a security alert.
But even at the time of the cricket bus attack, the strong ties between the two countries cushioned bilateral relations. Colombo has little regard for the IPKF. It remembers more the “parippu drop” over Jaffna, when the Indian Air Force dropped food supplies to Tamils when the Sri Lankan army had laid siege on the northern peninsula in 1985, but it has never forgotten that Pakistan provided weapons and munitions and trained Lankan Air Force pilots for Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE.
Sri Lanka was subdued in its reaction to the killing of Priyantha Kumara. It took a full day for President Gotabaya Rajapakasa to break his silence and tweet that he was “deeply concerned by the incident in Sialkot #Pakistan. #SriLanka trusts that PM @ImranKhanPTI and the Gvt. Of Pakistan will ensure justice is served and the ensure the safety of the remaining Sri Lankan workers in Pakistan”. Before that the Sri Lankan foreign ministry asked Pakistani authorities to “take the required action to investigate and ensure justice”. Earlier, Foreign ministry spokesperson Sugeeshwara Gunaratna said the Sri Lankan High Commission in Islamabad was in the process of verifying details of the incident from Pakistani authorities.
Deeply concerned by the incident in Sialkot #Pakistan. #SriLanka trusts that PM @ImranKhanPTI and the Gvt. of Pakistan will ensure justice is served and ensure the safety of the remaining Sri Lankan workers in Pakistan.
— Gotabaya Rajapaksa (@GotabayaR) December 4, 2021
Pakistan has promised swift action against the perpetrators. Some 100 people said to be part of the mob and two of the main instigators have been arrested, the Pakistani media have reported.
However, Pakistan’s regressive and draconian anti-blasphemy law is loaded against the person against whom the allegation is made. In well-known cases that attract international attention and are thought to be spoiling the country’s already fragile image abroad, the system steps in to protect the alleged blasphemer, sometimes with prodding from western powers, and if there has been violence, to hand out punishment to the perpetrators.
The most famous example of the way this law, the law enforcers, the government, and the judicary work is that of Aasia Naureen, better known as Aasia Bibi, who was arrested in 2009 after her co-workers alleged she had committed blasphemy. She was sentenced to death by a lower court. The punishment was confirmed by the Lahore High Court. It was only under tremendous international pressure at a time that Pakistan was negotiating an IMF bailout, that the Supreme Court took her review petition and ruled there was not enough evidence against her.
Protests broke out at the acquittal, roads were blocked by extremist groups such as Tehreek-eLabbaik. Aasia had to remain in custody for the next six months because of fears she would be killed. Prime Minister Imran Khan had to make repeated assurances that she would not be allowed to leave the country. Finally, she had to be spirited away from Pakistan to Canada secretly.
Unlike Aasia, in many cases, alleged blasphemers may not live to see jail or a courtroom, and their killers go scot-free. In the rare cases where punishment to the perpetrators is handed out, they are celebrated as “gazi”, religious warriors by the military-backed politically vocal and visible sections of Pakistan’s religious, conservative Muslims.
Mumtaz Qadri, the police bodyguard who was hanged for the 2011 killing Salman Taseer, the governor of the Punjab province (who was accused of blasphemy for speaking up in support of Asia Bibi) is held up as a martyr. The silent majority of Sunni Muslims may not support such glorification even if they are staunch believers, but they are silent.
Qadri’s execution led to the founding of Tehreek-e-Labbaik, which regularly holds the government to ransom by bringing out its supporters on the streets. During one such protest in 2017, the ISI brokered a deal between the group and the government of the day, making the government pledge that it would not dilute anti-blasphemy laws. The government had to recently lift a ban on the group.
Mashal Khan case
In March 2017, Pakistan was convulsed just as it is now by the killing of a 23-year-old journalism student in a college in Mardan, in Khyber Pakthunkhwa province. Mashal Khan and two of his friends had been accused by fellow students of posting blasphemous content online. They were attacked on campus by students and Mashal Khan was lynched. His friends escaped with injuries.
Nawaz Sharif, then prime minister of the country, condemned the incident as saddening and senseless, and asked the entire country to stand together to promote tolerance in society, but a month earlier, he called it an “unpardonable offence”. It was the outpouring of public solidarity for him, the huge turnout for his funeral, and the strong reaction in his village to the killing that put pressure on the police to round up the killers. In all 61 people were arrested, one was sentenced to death, and seven others to life imprisonment by an anti-terrorism court.
In 2014, Rashid Rehman, a well-known human rights lawyer defending an accused in a blasphemy case, was shot dead. His killers have never been brought to justice. Rehman’s client, Junaid Hafeez, a university teacher, who was arrested in 2013, was sentenced to death in 2019 by the lower court, where a blasphemy case rarely ends in acquittal. In the trial courts, judges fear for their lives if they let an accused go. Mostly judges delay the cases till their transfer. Law enforcers, witnesses, jailers all worry for their safety in blasphemy cases.
Just in September, a 50-year-old Muslim woman was sentenced to death for an alleged blasphemous act in 2013. The woman, who was a school principal was accused by a local imam for describing herself as a “prophetess”. In January, three men were convicted of blasphemy for sharing allegedly blasphemous content on social media, the first case of conviction for online blasphemy in Pakistan. With a precedent set, the next month, a woman was accused of forwarding allegedly blasphemous material on WhatsApp.
Section 295A: The blasphemy law
In September, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expressed concern at the surge in blasphemy cases being registered. It said 40 cases had been registered in August alone. According to estimates by NGOs, some 1,800 cases of blasphemy have been registered since 1977, when the blasphemy law was made stricter.
Law enforcers know Section 295A of the Pakistan Penal Code which deals with blasphemy is widely misused by religious fanatics against members of minority communities – Ahmadi, Shia Hindus Christians – and against Muslims too, to settle personal scores. For the accused, prison is often a safer place than freedom as they live under constant threat to their lives. Just this week, two days before the Sri Lankan’s killing, a mob burnt down a police station in Charsadda in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where a man who had allegedly torn up a Koran was being held. The police had refused to hand over the man to the mob which was baying for his blood outside, growing in size as the day progressed. The police had to flee the station along with the man just before the station went up in flames.
Pakistan inherited Section 295 A from the colonial-era 1927 anti-hate speech section in the Indian Penal Code following the Rangila Rasool episode. In the Zia era, this section was further expanded to cover more offences under blasphemy and the death sentence introduced as one of the penalties (India has kept the original section). Some believe that the death sentence encourages people to take the law into their own hands for instant “justice”.
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No Pakistani politician wants to take the risk of trying to repeal the blasphemy laws, though most recognise that it is not in keeping with the image of modernity that the nation wants to project. Even the military ruler Pervex Musharraf backed off though he gave it serious consideration. Now as then, it is considered politically unwise and personally hazardous. Years of pandering to extremists has literally disabled the Pakistani state on this issue.
Cautionary tale for India
Pakistan’s experience on its blasphemy law is a cautionary tale for those who want to bring similar laws in India. Despite all advice, Punjab enacted a blasphemy law in 2018 to appease religious sentiment after several cases of sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib. Disrespect shown to the Sikh holy book, the Bhagvad Gita, Bible and Koran are all punishable with life imprisonment. An earlier legislation brought in by the Akali Dal did not get presidential assent as it was specific to the Guru Granth Sahib, and it was returned with the comment that all religions are to be treated equally. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s recent demand for an anti-blasphemy law has received a strong push back from within the Muslim community, with prominent voices warning against the dangers of such a law. In a statement signed by more than 400 people, a majority of them Muslim, the Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy said there was no need for such a law as Muslims had every right to invoke Section 295-A in the Indian penal Code to deal with any complaints. The statement pointed to the “notorious blasphemy law in neighbouring Pakistan which is frequently used to hound individuals from religious minorities and even fellow Muslims with sectarian and personal motives”.
Return woman film-maker's impounded passport: Madras HC – Times of India
CHENNAI: Madras high court has quashed a Chennai regional passport officer (RPO) order impounding the passport of woman film-maker Leena Manimekalai, and directed him to release it within a week.
The passport was impounded in view of a pending criminal defamation complaint filed by film director Susi Ganesan and ‘adverse report from law enforcing agency’ against her. Susi Ganesan filed the case after she levelled #MeToo allegation against him.
Justice M Dhandapani reversed the order, saying: “For an offence, alleged to have been committed under Section 500 (criminal defamation) of IPC, that too on a private complaint, the passport, without any rhyme or reason, after a lapse of four years from the date of issuance of passport has taken the extreme step of cancelling the passport of the petitioner.” The act of the passport authority appears to be very strange. Offences of criminal nature, which have far-reaching consequences and more penal in nature, which affects the society, wherein persons who have committed such heinous offences, being holders of passport, in such of those cases, seldom the passport authority, invoke such powers, Justice Dhandapani said.
“This does not augur well with this court. However, judicial discipline warrants this court to refrain from dealing any further on this aspect,” the judge added. Allowing her plea, the judge said: “Section 10 (3) (e) of the Passports Act pertaining to pendency of criminal proceedings in any court of law committed by the holder of the passport is pressed into service to claim that the pending criminal case before the trial court was the reason for impounding the passport.”
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