Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Culture | By Julio Duncan

Insufficient evidence to remove Nawaz Sharif: Pakistan court

Insufficient evidence to remove Nawaz Sharif: Pakistan court

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif affirmed that the Prime Minister was ready to face probe and that they would extend their complete cooperation in the entire process. Immediately after the ruling the nation's benchmark stock index advanced 3.9 percent, the largest jump in more than two years, before paring gains to 2.2 percent. Sharif is seen as pro-business.

At the centre of the issue was the legitimacy of the funds that the prime minister's family used to purchase some of its high-end properties in London via offshore companies, media reports said.

"With today's decision, not only democracy but also justice itself have been damaged".

Pak Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Hasan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, retired Capt Muhammad Safdar (the PM's son-in-law) and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar are the respondents in the case.

"The court will decide the case only after considering the material submitted in the court and will announce its verdict in accordance with the law and the Constitution", Justice Khosa remarked.

"We have been vindicated as Prime Minister had past year asked to set up a probe commission to investigate Panama leaks scandal", said Khawaja Asif, defence minister and close ally of Prime Minister Sharif.

He said if Sharif is not ready to step down permanently, he should step aside for 60 days when JIT would probe the money laundering allegations, as ordered by the court. "What moral grounds does he have to continue in office?"

The documents showed these companies were involved in a 2007 loan of $13.8m, made using high-value Sharif-owned properties in the United Kingdom as collateral, and a separate 2007 transaction amounting to $11.2m.

The court late a year ago launched an investigation into the Sharif family's offshore wealth after opposition politicians threatened to spark street protests, and following months of wrangling between the government and opposition over the formation of a judicial commission.

Supporters of Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif celebrate following the Supreme Court decision in Islamabad, Pakistan, on April 20, 2017.

Farogh Naseem, a Supreme Court lawyer and sitting senator, said Sharif could breathe easy, for now. "There is no clean chit for the prime minister, but for the time being he has been saved from being disqualified".

Reports state that it could direct law enforcement agencies to conduct more detailed investigations into the allegations laid against Sharif.

Political analyst Rasul Buksh Rais said: "It's going to be (a) historic decision that will push Pakistan into electoral mood in either case".

"And two out of three judges in the bench observed that Nawaz Sharif is neither "Sadiq" nor "Ameen".

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