Pakistan's top court rules prime minister can stay in power
Pakistan's top court rules prime minister can stay in power
PanamaLeaks case A trailblazing trial
21 Abril, 2017, 02:17
Under tight security, Pakistan's top court is to deliver a much-awaited decision on Thursday on corruption allegations against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family which could determine his political future.
"The Supreme Court has decided... the same thing that Nawaz Sharif himself had decided six months ago, when he ordered the formation of a commission to investigate [the allegations]", said Khwaja Asif, a senior leader of Sharif's ruling PML-N party, following the announcement.
The detailed judgment of the Supreme Court began with a popular quote "Behind every great fortune there is a crime" from novel "The Godfather".
In Alam's interpretation of the court verdict, two members of the five-judge bench have differed with their colleagues because they believe Sharif is disqualified from holding a constitutional post since he lied to Parliament on the trail of money with which his family's flats have been purchased.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should be anxious after the PakistanSupreme Court's majority verdict on Thursday.
The commission will have the authority to summon Sharif or anyone else from his family to answer questions on how huge sums ended up overseas in offshore companies, the court statement said.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif affirmed that the Prime Minister was ready to face probe and that they would extend their complete cooperation in the entire process.
Following the Panamagate verdict, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Thursday once again demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation over corruption allegations.
Late previous 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.
The case centres on the so-called Panama Papers that were published past year, which referred to over 11 million secret documents of numerous world's rich and powerful from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Among the global elite implicated were three of Sharif's four children - his daughter and presumptive political heir Maryam Nawaz, and his sons Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz.
"A thorough investigation is required", Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said, announcing the highly anticipated ruling following a months-long hearing stemming from the Panama Papers leaks previous year that linked Sharif's family to offshore assets.
Sharif told parliament past year that his family wealth was acquired legally in the decades before he entered politics and that no money was siphoned off-shore.
Regardless of the outcome, he said, the case is important for Pakistan, which ranked a lowly 116th place out of 176 countries in a corruption index released by Transparency International in January. "That is very damaging to the prime minister", Rasheed Razvi said.
"The split verdict proves that people, especially the PTI who opposed the Prime Minister, are in a minority", said Ahsan Iqbal, a leader from Sharif's PML-N. "The odds of this are quite low", he told AFP. The other two judges wanted him to be disqualified straight away.
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Pakistani politicians of all stripes have over the years been accused of corruption , which remains endemic. The two judges ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif , whereas the other three were in favour of forming a JIT.
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