World Neighbours 20 Apr 2017 Pak SC orders probe ...

Pak SC orders probe against Nawaz Sharif in Panama Papers scandal

Published Apr 20, 2017, 2:54 pm IST
Updated Apr 20, 2017, 10:48 pm IST
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (Photo: File)
 Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (Photo: File)

Islamabad: The Pakistan Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a probe against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in connection with the Panama Papers scandal.

According to reports, the country's top court said a joint investigation team would be constituted to probe Sharif, which would submit its report within 60 days.

However, the plea filed by the opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), founded by former cricketer Imran Khan, to disqualify Sharif as the Prime Minister was rejected in a 3-2 split verdict.

Disqualifying Sharif would have left his party - the PML (N) - in power, but it would have caused intense turmoil at a time when Pakistan is experiencing modest growth and improved security after years of violence, and the civilian government and powerful military have appeared to come to uneasy terms.

Sharif has denied any wrongdoing, but the Supreme Court agreed to investigate his family's offshore wealth late last year after opposition leader Imran Khan threatened street protests.

In 2012, the same court convicted then-Premier Yusuf Raza Gilani in a contempt case, forcing him to step down.

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.

Sharif's family has acknowledged owning offshore businesses. The opposition wants Sharif, in power since 2013, to resign over tax evasion and concealing foreign investment.



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