Panama Papers: Pakistan SC orders corruption probe against PM Nawaz Sharif

Panama Papers: Pakistan SC orders corruption probe against PM Nawaz Sharif

The Pakistan Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe PM Nawaz Sharif and his family's involvement in corruption in the Panama Papers case.

As per the Supreme Court order, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) will be formed in a week and Sharif and his sons will have to appear before it.

Calls for an investigation began when three of Sharif's children, his sons Hussain and Hasan and his daughter Maryam, were named in the massive Panama Papers document leak in April 2016.

The JIT would report to the court after every two weeks and would complete the proceedings in 60 days. It says the JIT should include officials of NAB, FIA, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence.

The case centres on the so-called Panama Papers that were published past year, which referred to over 11 million secret documents of numerous world's rich and powerful from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Last year, the Panama Papers leak by a consortium of global journalists had revealed that Sharif and his relatives owned offshore companies in tax havens dealing in millions of dollars in property transactions.

Khawaja Saad Rafiq, a senior leader of Sharif's PML-N party, said the judgement was an endorsement of the government.

"The letter submitted by a Qatari businessman in defense of Prime Minister Sharif was considered inadmissible by the court and a further probe is ordered", Islamabad-based legal expert Yasser Latif Hamdani told the OCCRP.

But Sharif and family have 67 days to establish how they came to route their funds to buy properties overseas.

Formation of federal front always on agenda, says Mamata Banerjee
Besides, they also discussed about the CBI's action against the top leaders of the TMC and BJD in chit fund scam. "Courtesy call. As neighbouring states, it is good to keep in touch, she said adding "Politics is a continuous process".

The worst April in history of the country was April 4, 1979 when former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged in Rawalpindi for criminal conspiracy to kill a leading politician.

Drawing a comparison between an investigation launched against gangster Uzair Baloch and the premier, Imran said, "If Nawaz is cleared after JIT's investigation, he can return to the seat".

Sharif and his family have denied any wrongdoing, and dismissed the claims as politically motivated.

"I think it is evident now to the nation that Nawaz's real face is not sharif", Zardari said.

The continuing controversy could trouble Sharif's governing party ahead of general elections that must be held by the end of next year, and as security and the economy improve in the militancy-plagued country.

FILE - In this December 21, 2016 file photo, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, inspects Bosnian Army honor guard during the visit to Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.

The ruling PML-N was quick to tweet photos and statements of celebration after the Supreme Court verdict.

"Now, Nawaz Sharif has no moral right to remain PM", he added.

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