Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Pakistan top court rejects call to oust PM

Panamagate verdict on Thursday; much at stake for Pak PM Nawaz Sharif Supreme Court to release Panama Case verdict on April 20
Edmund Wade | 21 April, 2017, 00:10

The court had agreed to investigate the family's wealth late previous year after opposition leader Imran Khan threatened street protests.

The opposition accuses Sharif of failing to explain the source of offshore money and of lying to parliament.

Sharif told parliament previous year that his family wealth was acquired legally in the decades before he entered politics and that no money was siphoned off-shore.

The Supreme Court is set to determine Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's fate on Thursday with a ruling on corruption allegations after the Panama Papers linked his family to offshore businesses.

The judgement will be announced by a five-member larger bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on slew of petitions seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the wake of explosive disclosures of the Panama Papers, reports the Express Tribune.

A five-judge bench, comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, delivered the landmark judgement after examining arguments presented in the case. The two judges ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif, whereas the other three were in favour of forming a JIT.

Last year, the Panama Papers leak by a consortium of worldwide journalists had revealed that Sharif and his relatives owned offshore companies in tax havens dealing in millions of dollars in property transactions.

He has already announced that whatever may be the verdict in the case, his political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will launch a movement for the next general elections.

Mr Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N), hailed the decision and his daughter Maryam tweeted: "Praise and glory be to Allah alone".

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaj Sharif on Thursday got immediate relief in Panamagate when the Supreme Court ordered a time-bound probe into the case. Sharif could be dismissed as prime minister. The petitions question the legitimacy of the funds used by the Sharif family to purchase many high-end London properties through offshore companies.

The allegations focus on Sharif's previous two terms in office, in the 1990s.

It could clear the prime minister, or order a further judicial commission of inquiry or even declare him ineligible to hold office, as it did in 2012 with then-Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani over a contempt of court case.

In particular, documents appeared to show that three of Sharif's children - Maryam, Hassan and Hussain - owned offshore holdings in three British Virgin Islands-registered companies.

Khan also accepted the verdict and said his party has been vindicated that Sharif was involved in corruption.

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