Pakistan’s Supreme Court today rejected as “frivolous” a plea by opposition leader Imran Khan seeking Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification from his office and the National Assembly for alleged involvement in corruption.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party chief’s lawyer had filed the plea in the top court yesterday after millions of documents leaked from a Panamian law firm in April disclosed Sharif’s daughter and two sons owned properties in the UK that were not shown on his family’s wealth statement.
The top court said prima-facie the petition appeared to be “frivolous” and the petitioner did not approach a high court before coming to it for addressing their grievances. “The petitioner has not approached any other appropriate forum available to him under the law for the same relief. He has also not provided the justification for not doing so,” it said.
The order stated the petitioner directly invoked the extraordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 184 (3) of Constitution, which is not permissible in view of the judgment. Stung by the rebuke, Ishaq Khan Khakwani of the PTI said since the plea had been knocked down on technical grounds, the party would refile it after removing the legal lacunae.
The 11.5 million leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca in Panama showed several world leaders, including Sharif’s three children – sons, Hassan and Hussain, and his daughter, Maryam – owning at least three offshore companies. Sharif has been under fire since the leak.
The allegations that Sharif hid his offshore wealth to avoid taxes has called his credentials into question. The allegations had led to panic among the top members of the ruling PML-N party. Sharif had left for London soon after the leak on an unscheduled visit for medical treatment.
He returned to Pakistan after eight weeks and following an open heart surgery on May 31. Sharif has dismissed the leaks calling it a work of people “targeting me and my family for their political aims”. He also suggested that those “who use ill-gotten wealth don’t keep assets in their own names”.
The ‘Panama Papers’ – as the leaks came to be known – revealed details of dodgy offshore financial dealings gleaned from millions of leaked documents from the Panamanian firm.