Lahore: A Pakistani court today directed the federal government to file a reply on a petition demanding disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for alleged money laundering and willfully concealing his wealth from the public.
Lahore High Court Justice Shahid Wahid also ordered to add the “proof” of two off-shore companies of Sharif part of the petition at the next hearing. Petitioner Gohar Nawaz Sindhu today submitted “evidence” about two off-shore companies owned by Sharif. “This is irrefutable evidence proving Prime Minister Sharif has been running the off-shore companies for decades,” he said. Justice Wahid directed the federal government to submit a reply in next hearing.
The court office will fix the date for next hearing. The petitioner said the prime minister had lost “moral ground” to hold his office in the wake of the ‘Panama Papers’ leak that allegedly showed his sons were involved in money laundering and having off-shore companies in the UK.
“After the Prime Minister’s son Hussain Nawaz’s admission about the existence of their companies outside Pakistan, the Premier should be disqualified. Hussain was a minor when the offshore companies were purchased outside Pakistan in 1993 and 1994 but PM Sharif did not declare these assets before the Election Commission of Pakistan,” the petitioner alleged.
“The Premier was also involved in money laundering and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s confessional statement and the confession of the Premier’s sons about transfer of money abroad are enough evidence in this regard. Prime Minister Sharif has willfully concealed his wealth from the public thus he cannot hold a public office,” he argued.
The petitioner also requested the court to order the National Accountability Bureau to carry out an inquiry into the ‘Panama Papers’ and fix responsibility.
“The ECP should also be directed to start an inquiry against the Prime Minister for concealing the facts from the public while submitting his nomination papers,” the petitioner demanded. Amid mounting pressure in the wake of the Panama Leaks, Sharif left for London along with his family members yesterday for a “medical check-up”.
However, Pakistan People’s Party Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said Sharif has gone to London to seek former President Asif Ali Zardari’s advice on the Panama Papers. “The Premier also has to sort out internal disputes that have arisen within the Sharif family regarding inheritance,” he said.
Sharif cancelled scheduled visits to Turkey while his relative Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also cancelled a scheduled visit to Washington for IMF and World Bank meetings to take care of “government affairs” in the absence of Sharif.