Pakistan suspends warrant for Khan
ISLAMABAD — A top Pakistani court Friday suspended an arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Imran Khan, giving him a reprieve to travel to Islamabad and face charges in a graft case without being detained.
Khan has been holed up at his home in the eastern city of Lahore since Tuesday, after failing to appear at an earlier hearing in the case. His supporters hurled stones and clashed with baton-wielding police for two days to protect the former premier from arrest.
He was ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament last April. He is accused of selling state gifts while in office and concealing assets.
He is due in court today, after Aamer Farooq, the chief justice at the Islamabad High Court, suspended the warrant in the graft case. The court Friday also warned Khan that he could face contempt proceedings if he again fails to show up before the judge.
Friday’s suspension of the warrant was welcomed by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
“Imran Khan will come to Islamabad to appear before the court,” said Shibli Faraz, a party leader.
Maryam Sharif, a top leader in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party, criticized Khan Friday for resisting arrest and lauded the security forces for their restraint.
Australia to buy 220 U.S. cruise missiles
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia announced plans to buy up to 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States after the U.S. State Department approved the sale Friday.
The Australian missile sale comes with a price tag of nearly $900 million. The prime contractor will be Arizona-based Raytheon Missiles and Defense.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States,” the State Department said in a statement. “Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific.” Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said his country would be working closely with the U.S.
“Making sure we have longer-range strike missiles is a really important capability for the country,” Marles told Channel Nine. “It enables us to be able to reach out beyond our shores further, and that’s ultimately how we are able to keep Australia safe.” Defense Industry Minister Pat Conroy said the missiles could be fired from the Virginia-class submarines Australia would be buying under the AUKUS deal.
The submarine deal has raised concerns that it could clear the way for bad actors to escape nuclear oversight in the future. Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, this week pledged to be “very demanding” in overseeing the planned transfer from the U.S. to Australia.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the government had been transparent about the expense.
Israelis skipping duty over judicial plan
JERUSALEM — Hundreds of elite officers in Israel’s military reserves say they will not show up for duty starting Sunday in protest over the government’s plans to overhaul the judicial system.
The firm date is the first time set for an unprecedented political protest within the security services.
In two separate letters published Thursday, about 750 elite officers threatened to stop volunteering for duty.
One hundred elite Air Force officers, including two former chiefs, said in an open letter reported by Channel 12 News, Israel’s top television program, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was subverting the nation’s security and democracy.
“We fear that following military orders would be a violation of our oath, our conscience and our mission,” read the Air Force reservists’ letter.
About 650 more officers from the reserves’ special forces and cyber units said in a separate letter, “We will not serve a dictatorship. … We are ready to give our life and soul and the government should give responsibility and sanity.” Israel’s military chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, has met with protesting officers and warned Netanyahu about the rising discontent in the ranks.
Stray explosives deadly in S. Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan — At least 10 people in South Sudan, including three children, have been killed after mistaking unexploded ordnance for scrap metal, an official said Friday.
The commissioner of Jur River county, James Bak, confirmed Thursday’s explosion in Western Bahr el Ghazal and said two other children were injured.
He said people in Jebel-Mille area had been gathering mangoes when they came across the unexploded ordnance and assumed it was metal scrap. They started collecting it for sale when it exploded, he said.
“It killed seven women and three children,” Bak told The Associated Press.
Mines and other unexploded ordnance remain a major problem in South Sudan, which is recovering from a five-year civil war that ended in 2018. More than 5,000 South Sudanese have been killed or injured by land mines and unexploded ordnance since 2004, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service.