Relief for Nawaz, Pak SC orders JIT to probe Panama case

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

Rather than finding for or against Sharif, by a decision of three to two, the panel ordered a new investigation, which will seek testimony from the prime minister and his sons.

"We have been vindicated as Prime Minister had a year ago asked to set up a probe commission to investigate Panama leaks scandal", said Khawaja Asif, defence minister and close ally of Sharif. Past year he told parliament that his family wealth was acquired legally in the decades before he entered politics.

Police in riot gear surrounded the court in the capital, Islamabad, as it delivered its verdict and some protesters urged Sharif to step down with shouts of "Go Nawaz, Go Nawaz". "There is no clean chit for the prime minister, but for the time being he has been saved from being disqualified".

A trove of 11.5 million digital records from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca previous year revealed how numerous world's wealthy used offshore companies to stash assets.

The names of members of the JIT must be announced within seven days, and a probe report must be released within 60 days. He took a swipe at the court and said that "we never expected any justice from the court". The leak showed at least 8 offshore holding companies had links with Nawaz Sharif's family members.

However, opponents of the prime minster point out that two out of the five judges did recommend Nawaz Sharif should be disqualified, and the other three all felt further investigation was needed.

It was not immediately clear if there were any implications for Sharif's daughter, Maryam, a prominent leader of his ruling PML-N party. It would be including representatives from Intra Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Federal Investigation Agency, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and National Accountability Bureau.

Thursday's decision will be 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.

The prime minister and his children deny any wrongdoing.

Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb told reporters the government will "accept the court decision".

Opposition political parties had threatened to launch street protests if their demand for an investigation was not met.

Leader of the opposition Pakistan Movement for Justice party Imran Khan said in a statement the ruling would would "change the dynamics of politics in Pakistan".

Though there's no evidence to prove allegations on Shariff the Supreme Court of Pakistan asked the JIT to investigate his family's offshore wealth and properties.

Other reports by VgToday

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