- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 4, 2007

PAKISTAN

Top court frees opposition leader

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s Supreme Court yesterday ordered the release on bail of a senior opposition leader who was sentenced to 23 years in prison for trying to incite an army mutiny, a defense attorney and officials said.

The decision to free Javed Hashmi, a close ally of exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, will bolster political opposition to President Pervez Musharraf, who plans to seek a new presidential term from lawmakers this fall.

Mr. Hashmi was sentenced in 2004 to 23 years in prison for circulating a letter from some soldiers criticizing Gen. Musharraf, but human rights and opposition groups said the accusations were politically motivated.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who was suspended by Gen. Musharraf in March but cleared of charges of misconduct last month, headed the three-judge panel that ordered Mr. Hashmi’s release on bail.

NEPAL

King’s name removed from national anthem

KATMANDU — Nepal’s King Gyanendra was expunged from the country’s national anthem yesterday as a report presented to parliament blamed the monarch for last year’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

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