The Pakistan Supreme Court has announced that the formation of a joint probe team to investigate charges on Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members in the Panama Papers case, according to the reports by CNN News 18. The team has been given 60 days to submit its report and the court will take its decision based on the report.
Prior to the judgment, there was a widespread fear in Pakistan that Nawaz may lose his job as the Prime Minister. There were also reports in Pakistani media that the ruling party of Pakistan, PML-N, was already mulling on the alternatives, including a call for an early election, in case the court judgment forced Nawaz to step down.
Last year, the Panama Papers leak by a consortium of international journalists had revealed that Sharif and his relatives owned offshore companies in tax havens dealing in millions of dollars in property transactions. The revelation had shocked the countrymen, forcing the PM to clear the air on television on April 5, 2016. Nawaz Sharif even said he was open to a probe into Panama leaks by a judicial commission. However, his clarification failed to convince the opposition or stop Pakistani people from worrying about his dubious business deals.
Pakistan SC has ordered Hassan & Hussain Nawaz (Nawaz Sharif’s sons) to appear before Joint Investigation Team in Panama Case verdict. 3 judges have said that further investigation was needed while 2 others were of the opinion that PM Nawaz Sharif should be disqualified
Panama case: Our journey for Insaf pic.twitter.com/mZI7HgKq8k
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 20, 2017
The Panama Paper leak, which also became famous as ion media parlance as Panamagate scandal, revealed that eight off-shore companies were linked with Nawaz, his children and his brother, Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif.
Following Nawaz’s attempt to get rid of the taint on Pakistan TV, a committee of five ex-SC judges approached by the government to probe the allegations against Sharif and his family refused to do so.
In May last year, the then Pakistan military chief General Raheel Sharif asked the PM to resolve the Panama controversy, according to Dawn.
Whatever the verdict, am amazed & humbled to see the overwhelming support for Nawaz Sharif. For a leader, that’s the most prized possession.
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) April 20, 2017
In October last year, the Pakistan Supreme Court accepted petitions filed by several parties in connection with the Panama papers leak against Nawaz. Later in the same month on October 28, the SC formed a larger bench to initiate proceedings into the case.
In January this year, a BBC report revealed that Sharif family had purchased properties in London’s upscale Park Lane neighbourhood in the 1990s and there was no change in ownership since then. A few days later, A German daily tweeted documents showing Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam’s involvement in the Panamagate. On February 23, the SC reserved its judgment in the case after concluding the hearing.
(With inputs from agencies)