The Judgement Day has almost arrived for Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Supreme Court of Pakistan would announce the verdict of Panama Papers case at a scheduled time on Thursday. The Panama Papers leak last year 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 jolted entire Pakistan and a visibly shaken Sharif himself took to the television on April 5, 2016 to clear the air. The Pakistan PM had even said that he was open to a probe into Panama leaks by a judicial commission.
According to media reports, the leaks revealed that as many as eight off-shore companies were found to have links with Nawaz, his children and his brother, Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif.
However, a committee of five ex-SC judges approached by the government to probe the revelations 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.
In On October 20 last year, the 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 cases against the PM.
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. PM’s son Hassan Nawaz was then quoted as saying by Dawn: “The Park Lane apartments in London are ours, two offshore companies, Nielsen and Nescoll, own these flats and I am the beneficial owner of these companies, working under a trust held by my sister Maryam Nawaz Sharif.”
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.
The Pakistan SC is expected to issue a detailed verdict. But the biggest question facing citizens of Pakistan as of now is: Whether SC would announce a harsh order that would lead to the downfall of Nawaz Sharif government or the tainted PM would be let free with a little infamy?
A member of the larger bench, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan had observed in February that the Panamagate verdict would not just concern the Sharif family, but also set in motion a law which would last for centuries, according to an ANI report.