Islamabad: Nawaz Sharif on Thursday narrowly managed to save his premiership after a Pakistan Supreme Court bench declared there was “insufficient evidence” to remove him from office but ordered setting up of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe graft allegations against his family in the Panama Papers scam.
The court ordered Sharif and his two sons — Hasan and Hussain — to appear before the JIT, which would include officials from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI).
The JIT has been given two months to complete the probe. It will present its report before the bench after every two weeks and will complete its work in 60 days.
The five-judge bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan issued the landmark 547-pages Judgement. 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 case is about alleged money laundering by Sharif in the 1990s when he twice served as Prime Minister to purchase assets in London. The assets surfaced when Panama papers last year showed that they were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif’s children.
The case filed by various petitioners — Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed — sought disqualification of Prime Minister Sharif over his alleged misstatement in his address to the nation on April 5 and his speech before the National Assembly on May 16, 2016. The petitioners had claimed that the PM lied about the investments made by his children in offshore companies, which led to the acquisition of four apartments in London’s upscale Park Lane neighbourhood.