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Top Pakistan court rules Nawaz can stay in power

21 April 2017, 12:10 | Winston Chapman

Top Pakistan court rules Nawaz can stay in power

Top Pakistan court rules Nawaz can stay in power

Two of five judges on the court bench recommended that Sharif should step down but they were out voted.

The team has two months to complete its inquiry, after which a special bench will decide what action to take. The nation's benchmark stock index extended gains after the ruling, advancing 3.9 percent, the largest jump in more than two years. Sharif is seen as pro-business.

Prime minister Sharif's government was sacked by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan for alleged corruption in April, 1993.

"With today's decision, not only democracy but also justice itself have been damaged".

"The Supreme Court's verdict will change the future of Pakistan", said the PTI chairman in January.

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court in a split verdict neither disqualified nor gave clean chit to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in most talked about Panama Papers case.

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. "What moral grounds does he have to continue in office?"

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The court decision on Thursday is the outcome of petitions from opposition lawmakers dating back to documents leaked in 2016 from a Panama-based law firm that indicated Sharif's sons owned several offshore companies.

There are legitimate ways of using tax havens and offshore companies, although these entities are often used to hide the true owners of assets or avoid paying tax on the money. The worst April in history of the country was April 4, 1979 when former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged in Rawalpindi for criminal conspiracy to kill a leading politician.

As Pakistan braces for the Supreme Court's decision over Panama Papers leaks at 2pm on Thursday, the interior ministry has issued orders directing administration in the capital to ensure tight security checks at the top court. "There is no clean chit for the prime minister, but for the time being he has been saved from being disqualified".

The sharply worded, 540-page ruling fell short of the bombshell Sharif's opponents had hoped for, allowing him to remain in office while his party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, competes in general elections next year.

But lawyers for Pakistani cricketer-turned-opposition-leader Imran Khan argue the paper trail for the funds is non-existent, and say the onus is on Sharif to prove his relatives did not engage in money laundering.

Political analyst Rasul Buksh Rais said: "It's going to be (a) historic decision that will push Pakistan into electoral mood in either case", adding that he did not expect a disqualification verdict.

Fawad Chaudhry of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) said that Sharif should resign as all judges have accepted that money was illegally sent out of the country.



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