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VERDICT OUT: Supreme Court orders PM to face JIT in Panamagate case

VERDICT OUT: Supreme Court orders PM to face JIT in Panamagate case

The detailed judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding the Panama Leaks case contained a chart which highlighted the Prime Minister and other respondents' contradictions with regard to the ownership of the London flats.

The Supreme Court launched an investigation into the Sharif family's offshore wealth a year ago after opposition parties threatened to launch street protests.

Conducting off-shore business is not illegal in Pakistan but Mr Sharif's accusers believe the companies were used to avoid taxes and / or launder wealth gained through corruption.

Interestingly, the verdict of the apex court comes in the same month during which previously Sharif was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 and his government was sacked in 1993.

"Two judges declared the prime minister dishonest".

Sharif was first accused of corruption after three of his children were linked to offshore accounts uncovered by the 2015 Panama Papers leak.

Nawaz's staunch political opponent Imran Khan was present in the court when the verdict was announced. "Not for once have I seen my father or any member of the family anxious or concerned".

The two judges of the bench ruled against the prime minister while professing that he should be disqualified, however, the other three judges expressed that JIT should be formed.

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Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal hailed it as a "historic victory", while Railways Minister Saad Rafique said the verdict is in the PML-N's favour.

The Supreme Court issued a split ruling calling for a joint investigation team of anti-corruption officials along with the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence to probe the claims and issue a report within 60 days.

The prime minister and his children deny any wrongdoing.

"Whether the court convicts him or not today it spells trouble and the prime minister will be weakened", added Herald newspaper editor Badar Alam.

The case against Sharif emerged past year after the Panama Papers leak linked his children to offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands in relation to the purchase of upmarket property in London.

The opposition parties after a year-long protest both inside and outside the Parliament had finally taken the case to the country's top court expecting a verdict to oust Sharif from his post.

"If Nawaz is cleared after JIT's investigation, he can return to the seat", he said. After the release of the report based on leaked documents of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonsecca in April, Sharif had pledged to step down if charges were proved.

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".


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