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

Shahbaz congratulates PM Nawaz Sharif over SC decision in Panama Papers Case

Shahbaz congratulates PM Nawaz Sharif over SC decision in Panama Papers Case

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday ruled there insufficient evidence to order Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's removal from office over corruption allegations levelled by the opposition and ordered further investigations.

Terming the apex court verdict "a historic judgment in Pakistan's history", he said that all five members of the bench had has rejected PM Sharif's explanation into his source of income and money trail that led to his children's offshore holdings.

The court also ordered Sharif and his two sons - Hasan and Hussain - to appear before the joint investigation team, which would consist of officials from the Federal Investigation Agency, the National Accountability Bureau, the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Military Intelligence (MI).

The Supreme Court took up the matter after several petitions were filed by the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and others.

The controversy erupted with the publication of the so-called Panama Papers past year, 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca which documented the offshore dealings of numerous world's rich and powerful.

Since early April 2016, millions of confidential documents from the Panamanian Mossack Fonseca have been published, showing how the law firm helped rich and powerful clients across the world with shady businesses.

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".

Addressing the media after the verdict, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said: "Every party including Imran Khan, Sirajul Haq should now respect the SC verdict".

'The verdict is historic because a sitting prime minister has never been investigated before, ' he said, adding the verdict to form a JIT proves all arguments by Sharif were lies.

The Sharif family claimed that their London properties were bought legally through Qatari investments and submitted a letter from a Qatari prince in their defense.

"Whether the court convicts him or not today it spells trouble and the prime minister will be weakened", said Herald newspaper editor Badar Alam.

"I demand Nawaz Sharif resign".

Sharif, one of Pakistan's richest men, told parliament previous year that his family wealth was acquired legally in the decades before he entered politics.

"I think it is evident now to the nation that Nawaz's real face is not sharif", Zardari said.

Late past year, the Supreme Court took up the case, after months of wrangling between the government and opposition over the formation of a commission to probe the allegations. Khan held a meeting of party leaders yesterday and asked them to remain in Islamabad to decide the further course of action.

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