Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Pakistan's top court rules prime minister can stay in power

Pakistan's top court rules prime minister can stay in power

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was given a two-month reprieve on Thursday as Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered further investigations into corruption allegations against him, saying there wasn't enough evidence to order his removal. The two judges ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif, whereas the other three were in favour of constituting the JIT.

Among those implicated were three of Sharif's four children - his daughter and presumptive political heir Maryam and sons Hasan and Hussein.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Under tight security, Pakistan's top court is to deliver a much-awaited decision on Thursday on corruption allegations against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family which could determine his political future.

Analysts and opposition politicians said the ruling was a blow to Sharif's credibility and the inquiry's findings could yet weaken the prime minister as he heads into a general election, due by May 2018.

Justice Ijaz Afzal, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan wrote the majority judgment, whereas Justice Gulzar and Justice Khosa in their dissenting note wanted to remove the Prime Minister as sought by the petitioners.

The verdict said the JIT to be led by a director-general level FIA officer is to include officials from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), State Bank of Pakistan, Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence.

The high court launched an investigation into the offshore wealth of Sharif's family late past year after The Panama Papers linked them to offshore businesses.

Defending Sharif's case, PML-N insists that his wealth was acquired legally through family businesses in Pakistan and the Gulf.

It erupted with the publication of 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca a year ago which documented the offshore dealings of numerous world's rich and powerful. The assets, mostly in London, were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif's children.

Naeem ul Haque, a spokesman for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), however, expected a verdict against Sharif.

"With today's decision, not only democracy but also justice itself have been damaged. There will be a criminal investigation against him and his family", Imran ephasised.

The prime minister's party, the Pakistan Muslim League, hailed the decision as a victory and his daughter Maryam tweeted: "Praise and glory be to Allah alone".

In April 2016, Germany's Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper published materials it claimed came from the Mossack Fonseca company, exposing the alleged involvement of a number of world leaders, like Sharif, as well as influential figures and their circles in tax havens schemes.

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