Panamagate: Pak SC’s Decision on Nawaz Sharif Angers Oppn

  • The Pakistan top court’s split-decision to give temporary relief to PM Nawaz Sharif has angered opposition leaders
  • Imran Khan, Asif Ali Zardari have demanded Nawaz Sharif’s resignation
  • The court ordered Nawaz Sharif and his sons to appear before Joint Investigation Team (JIT)
  • The JIT, which will be formed within a week, will have to submit a report in 60 days
  • Sharif and his children were linked to illegal offshore wealth in the Panama Papers leak

The Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers leak case against Nawaz Sharif has nine pages detailing what it called "serious contradictions" in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's stand .

Backing the stance taken by Imran Khan and his party, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Asif Ali Zardari has also asked underfire PM Nawaz Sharif to resign over 'moral grounds'. However, the former PM of Pakistan blamed Imran Khan's "dramas" of benefitting Nawaz Sharif in the case.

Addressing the media, party leader Aitzaz Ahsan called the formation of the JIT to probe the Panama papers giving an escape route to Nawaz Sharif.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@Benazir_Shah)

Addressing the media from his residence, chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party Imran Khan on Thursday slammed the PML(N) and Nawaz Sharif for “celebrating lies”.

Reacting to the Supreme Court verdict, he said the order exposes PM Nawaz Sharif for his lies, and urged him to resign from the Prime Minister’s office on moral grounds. He told reporters:

The money trail and the papers submitted in the court were found to be against Nawaz Sharif. He should immedietly resign from the Prime Minister’s office on moral grounds.

One of the two dissenting judges, and head of the five-judge bench of the Pakistan SC Court, Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, in a short order found PM Nawaz Sharif guilty of concealing his assets. Sharif was also found guilty of sharing misleading information on the floor of the house.

Find the full copy of the short order below.

Copy of short order by Asif Saeed Khan Khosa. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@omar_quraishi)

Reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that court’s decision has vindicated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the state-owned Radio Pakistan reported.

He also took to Twitter to express his happiness at the favourable verdict for PM Sharif.

The judgment is a victory of democracy and the people of Pakistan, Planning Minister, Ahsan Iqbal told local media.

The Pakistan Supreme Court ordered further probe into the Panama Papers case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a 3-2 verdict. While three judges said that further investigations were needed, two judges said PM Nawaz Sharif should be disqualified, Pakistan media reported.

The court has ordered the setting up of a joint investigation team which has to submit its report in 60 days. Sharif and family have been ordered to appear before the probe team when it is formed.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif tweeted photos of the family after the judgment.

Pakistan is waiting with bated breath for the Supreme Court's decision in the high-profile Panama Papers case against Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif and his children amid speculation that an adverse ruling may force him to step down.

The Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that its five- member bench will issue the verdict in Panama case on Thursday.

The case was launched on 3 November and the court held 35 hearings before concluding the proceedings on 23 February.

The case was based on several identical petitions by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan and others about alleged illegal assets of the family of Sharif in London.

The petitioners have asked the court to disqualify 67- year-old Sharif under Article 62 and 63 of the constitution because he was involved in corruption. It is generally believed the court may not disqualify the Prime Minister but it may pass comments which will bring a lot of moral pressure on Sharif to step down.

Also Read: Sharif Weakened: Pak SC Orders Probe Into PM’s Panama Papers Leak

(Photo Courtesy: Reuters)

In an interview with a private TV channel, Asif Ali Zardari, the co-chairman of the PPP, asked Sharif to resign in case the decision was against him.

“We did not resist when the Supreme Court disqualified (then premier) Yousaf Raza Gilani. We chose another prime minister. Nawaz should do the same,” said Zardari.

Gilani stepped down in 2012 when the Supreme Court convicted him for disobeying court orders. Zardari chaired an important meeting of PPP on Tuesday and also called another meeting on 20 April to discuss the decision and its political outcome.

Meanwhile, in a series of tweets Maryam Nawaz, the PM’s daughter and apparent political heir, dispelled the impression that the premier was worried about the expected judgement in Panama case.

"People love Nawaz Sharif. It is not about the prime minister speaking. It's what he's speaking. His narrative is constructive and about development and progress. Eyes forward, mind focused, heart on, world ! Wazir-e-Azam Nawaz Sharif," she said in a series of tweets.

She also taunted the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf saying: “When all your plans have miserably failed and your precarious future hinges on... your best bet is a court decision”.

Sharif's supporters are adamant that their leader was "innocent" and will emerge stronger after the verdict.

"His name is not in the Panama leaks. He is not committed any wrong. So he will be victorious," Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique was quoted as saying. The minister also added that the elections in Pakistan will be held as scheduled in 2018.

Also Read: Nawaz Sharif Issued Notice by Pak SC For Role in ‘Panama’ Case

The "Panama Papers," published last year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), exposed the links of several influential people to secret offshore companies.

Twelve national leaders were named among the 143 politicians in the leak, which ran into 11.5 million documents. Their families and close associates from around the world were also found to be using offshore tax havens.

According to the Panama Papers, three of Sharif's four children – Maryam, Hasan and Hussain – were owners of offshore companies and "were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several companies."