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

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

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

In a three-two split decision by the five-member bench, the Supreme Court ordered a "joint investigation team" to probe allegations against Sharif and his children, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, said in Islamabad, the capital, on Thursday.

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

A Joint Investigation Team (JIT), made up of officials from the military and other investigating agencies, would be set up within a week and submit a report in 60 days.

The JIT has been given two months to complete the probe.

His daughter, Maryam, a prominent leader of Sharif's ruling PML-N party, could also face possible disqualification from holding public office in the future.

Pakistan's Supreme Court pronounced its verdict on a much-anticipated case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children over corruption allegations on Thursday (20 April).

The former president said it is beyond his comprehension that for what Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers had been distributing candies when their leadership has been declared dishonest and non-trustworthy.

Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb said the decision marks "the defeat for all those who have been levelling baseless allegations against Nawaz Sharif".

The high court launched an investigation into the offshore wealth of Sharif's family late previous year after The Panama Papers linked them to offshore businesses. But, Sharif and his family have consistently denied any wrongdoing is involved.

The case was launched on 3 November and the court held 35 hearings before concluding proceedings on 23 February.

It erupted with the publication of 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca previous year which documented the offshore dealings of numerous world's rich and powerful.

The case was based on several identical petitions by Khan and others about alleged illegal assets of the family Prime Minister Sharif in London. "Not for once have I seen my father or any member of the family anxious or concerned".

But for now, Sharif and his ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, are celebrating.

TV footage showed Sharif embracing his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif who is chief minister of Punjab province. In the dissenting notes, the judges termed Sharif "dishonest" and said he should be disqualified, but they were outnumbered.

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.

Zardari also criticised Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for letting Sharif got off the hook through the judgement of the court.