Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Culture | By Ray Hoffman

Ordering Probe Against Nawaz Sharif, Pak Supreme Court Quotes 'Godfather'

Ordering Probe Against Nawaz Sharif, Pak Supreme Court Quotes 'Godfather'

"It needs to be investigated how the money was transferred to Qatar", the Thursday 540-page verdict read.

Sharif was first accused of corruption after three of his children were linked to offshore accounts uncovered by the 2015 Panama Papers leak.

The news comes as a drawn-out investigation related to the "Panama Papers" leaks, which revealed the Sharif family's offshore wealth, has neared conclusion.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has directed the Islamabad administration to deploy Rangers personnel at the SC and its adjoining areas to meet any untoward situation once the long-awaited verdict is out, Radio Pakistan reported.

Stocks rose following the highly anticipated decision on Thursday.

The court late previous year launched an investigation into the Sharif family's offshore wealth after opposition politicians threatened to spark street protests, and following months of wrangling between the government and opposition over the formation of a judicial commission. Those holdings were alleged to have been used to make property purchases in London.

The government says it is confident that Sharif will be cleared. But his critics have suggested offshore companies were used to launder illegally-obtained wealth or avoid taxes.

Sharif had a narrow escape after a split decision by the five-member bench of the Supreme Court, with two judges recommending that the premier be told to step down.

According to GEO TV, Talal Chaudhry, a prominent leader of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said: "There is no chance that decision will come against our leadership".

Announcing the verdict, Justice Khosa said the ruling had two dissenting notes by himself and Justice Gulzar.

"Whether the court convicts him or not today it spells trouble and the prime minister will be weakened", said Herald newspaper editor Badar Alam. The two judges ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif, whereas the other three were in favour of forming a JIT.

"It was a close call for the prime minister", he told Reuters. In the meantime, they may try and unveil new voter-friendly policies to take the sting out of this case.

Naeemul Haq, a spokesman for cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, whose party is leading the petition, said the decision will be an "historic one". It ordered that a joint investigation team, focused on doing so, be formed within seven days. But the opposition in Pakistan has dismissed the claims as "fake". The opposition accuses Sharif of failing to explain the source of money in offshore companies owned by his children and of lying to Parliament.

Khan termed the verdict as indictment of Sharif as the bench did not absolve him of the allegations.

Khan's party could yet fail to capitalise on the investigation, he said - meanwhile, Sharif's party no longer faces a leadership crisis. He concludes that Mr Sharif "is definitely in trouble".

Like this: