Nawaz Sharif to remain Pakistan PM, says Supreme Court

Nawaz Sharif to remain Pakistan PM, says Supreme Court

Nawaz Sharif to remain Pakistan PM, says Supreme Court

Sharif and his children had been accused of graft in an ongoing case that had threatened to topple the prime minister and captivated Pakistan after the Panama Papers leak a year ago linked the family to offshore business.

The Supreme Court agreed to investigate Mr Sharif's offshore wealth late previous year after opposition leader Imran Khan threatened street protests. Sharif and his family have denied any wrongdoing.

Pakistan's top court is expected to deliver its verdict on Thursday in the high-profile Panama Papers scandal involving Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

While Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed called for Sharif's disqualification, the other three judges said there must be a new multi-agency investigation into the allegations against the Prime Minister and his family. The JIT, which will be formed within the week, will be required to submit its final report within 60 days of formation and will have to submit progress reports every 15 days.

The Panama Papers, which were published a year ago, released around 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca which documented offshore dealings of numerous world's rich and powerful.

"With today's decision, not only democracy but also justice itself have been damaged".

Sharif's nemesis Imran Khan+ and his party announced it would launch a movement for the next election irrespective of the decision.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan will announce its verdict in the Panamagate case on April 20, Thursday, after it added the matter in its cause list on Tuesday. Sharif and his daughter told the Supreme Court last November that their London property was bought through investments in companies owned by the Qatari ruling family. The SC could take a range of steps: it could clear the prime minister; it could order a further judicial commission of inquiry; or it could declare him ineligible to hold office, as it did in 2012 with then-PM Yusuf Raza Gilani in a contempt-of-court case.

Opposition leader and lawyers termed the court's verdict as an indictment of Sharif and demanded his resignation.

Sharif's party would have remained in power even if the verdict had ordered for the removal of the prime minister.

The clients reportedly included three of Sharif's children, who carried out business transactions that could be judged as money laundering and tax avoidance.

Zardari also criticised Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for letting Sharif got off the hook through the judgement of the court. While the opposition parties are vying for Nawaz's head, the Prime Minister's supporters have been rallying behind him.

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