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

21 April 2017, 02:16 | Taylor George

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

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

The apex court by a verdict of 3-2 ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Committee (JIT) to probe whether Sharif and his family is guilty of amassing illegal wealth overseas.

One of the contradictions mentioned in the chart were that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had claimed during his address to the nation on April 5, 2016 that proceeds from the sale of the Jeddah factory were used by his two sons for their new business.

In a 3-2 ruling, the court said it needed more information on the alleged illicit money trail and gave a 60-day deadline for a report.

The other agencies in the JIT include the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

The judgement authored by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, which was read out by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.

"We have been vindicated as Prime Minister had previous year asked to set up a probe commission to investigate Panama leaks scandal", said Khawaja Asif, defence minister and close ally of Prime Minister Sharif.

Government supporters could be seen celebrating the judgement with candies outside the court in Islamabad, where around 1,500 police commandos and riot forces had been deployed ahead of the highly anticipated decision. Simply, Prime Minister Sharif has got minor relief and major headache from this verdict.

"The verdict is historic because a sitting prime minister has never been investigated before", he said, adding the verdict to form a JIT proves all arguments by Sharif were lies.

The bench ordered further investigations into the transfer of the Sharif family's assets outside Pakistan, local TV channels reported.

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The 540-page verdict had two dissenting notes by Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar, who said that Sharif should be disqualified.

The president of the Supreme Court Bar Association said the ruling showed that none of the judges had accepted the truthfulness of Sharif's speech to parliament.

The prime minister and his children deny any wrongdoing.

"Sharif is being termed a "thief" by people on the streets and he has lost all moral ground to stay in power", Zardari told a crowded press conference in Islamabad.

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

Local media reported they were linked to offshore companies that owned properties in London.

Farogh Naseem, a Supreme Court lawyer and sitting senator, said Sharif could breathe easy, for now.

Following the Panamagate verdict, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Thursday once again demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation over corruption allegations. I also says that people have been made fool through the judgement, ” Zardari said.

Earlier, the area around the Supreme Court, located in Islamabad's Red Zone, was put on "red alert", with around 1,500 police, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel deployed for security arrangements.



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