Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Pakistan court to decide on accusations against PM's family

Pakistan court to decide on accusations against PM's family

Pakistan's top court ordered the prime minister be investigated for corruption today, in a highly anticipated decision that granted Nawaz Sharif a temporary reprieve as judges said there was insufficient evidence to oust him from power. Three judges ruled in favour of the JIT, which was directed to complete its probe in two months.

The Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has narrowly survived an attempt in the supreme court to unseat him on allegations of corruption levelled by the opposition. It says the JIT should include officials of NAB, FIA, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's alleged wrongdoing came to light as part of a massive leak of secret files from a Panamanian law firm that specialises in setting up offshore companies in tax havens.

The Supreme Court agreed past year to investigate the Sharif family's offshore wealth after opposition leader Imran Khan threatened street protests following the leaking of the "Panama Papers".

The Supreme Court agreed to investigate Mr Sharif's offshore wealth late a year ago after opposition leader Imran Khan threatened street protests.

However, it was pointed out in the judgment that Sharif's sons had maintained that their investment with Al-Thani family of Qatar was the source of funds for Hassan Nawaz Sharif's business. The Pakistan Army, which had successfully ousted him on October 12, 1999, under the command of General Pervez Musharraf after the Kargil war with India, will probe whether Sharif and his family is guilty of amassing illegal wealth overseas.

Rather than finding for or against Sharif, by a decision of three to two, the panel ordered a new investigation, which will seek testimony from the prime minister and his sons.

In a statement, the court said it needed more information about the alleged money trail.

Khan's party has indicated that it would not launch new street protests if it was disappointed by the judgement. "Not for once have I seen my father or any member of the family anxious or concerned".

The petitioners had asked the court to disqualify 67-year-old Sharif under Article 62 and 63 of the constitution because he was involved in corruption.

"Imran Khan, we told you to join us and form legislation and then take it to the court", he said.

Zardari's close aide Aitzaz Ahsan said the JIT ordered by the court actually was meant to give escape to Sharif.

Earlier, the area around the Supreme Court, located in Islamabad's Red Zone, was put on "red alert", with around 1,500 police, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel deployed for security and maintaining peace.

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