Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigns after SC disqualifies him
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Pakistan today plunged into a fresh spell of political uncertainty after the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stood disqualified in Panama Leaks case. Finally, the government was sent packing. Friday turned into reality the fears of many who had been predicting for months that this time around the government would be sent home through an order of the higher judiciary. The decision of the Panama Papers case was announced by a larger bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan. "He is no more eligible to be an honest member of the parliament, and he ceases to be holding the office of prime minister," Judge Ejaz Afzal Khan said in court. The court also disqualified Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Captain (r) Safdar, son-in-law of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The court ordered to file a reference against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The court has ordered NAB to complete investigation in Panamagate case within six weeks. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan said on the bench’s recommendation, all material collected by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) would be sent to an accountability court within 6 weeks. Also, cases would be opened against Captain Muhammad Safdar, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz as well as Nawaz Sharif. Within 30 days, a judgment will be announced. The court had in April declared there was “insufficient evidence” to oust Sharif over the graft allegations engulfing his family, and ordered an investigation team to probe the matter. The team of civilian and military investigators found there was a “significant disparity” between the Sharif family’s income and lifestyle in its report submitted to the court earlier this month. The Sharifs and their allies have consistently and noisily rejected the claims, with his ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party this month dismissing the investigation team’s report as “trash.” The controversy erupted last year with the publication of 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca documenting the offshore dealings of many of the world’s rich and powerful. Three of Sharif’s four children – Maryam, his presumptive political heir, and his sons Hasan and Hussein – were implicated in the papers. At the heart of the case is the legitimacy of the funds used by the Sharif family to purchase several high-end London properties via offshore companies.