Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Pakistan's top court rules prime minister can stay in power

Pakistan's top court rules prime minister can stay in power

Meanwhile, former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chair Asif Ali Zardari wondered as to why the Prime Minister's family was celebrating post the order.

The court has ordered further investigation into the Panama Papers scandal that the prime minister and his family are allegedly involved. His party says the wealth was acquired legally in Pakistan and the Gulf. According to Reuters, protesters nearby were chanting "Go Nawaz, Go Nawaz", urging the PM to gracefully exit his political office.

Police barred people from entering the court precincts as a five-member bench prepared to hand down the highly anticipated ruling at 2 p.m. (0900 GMT) after almost two months of deliberation and arguments. However, the bench remarked that prime minister had not been disqualified.

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.

The 3-2 decision called for the formation of a joint investigation team to examine the money trail within two months, and the two dissenting judges recommended Sharif's disqualification.

"We respect the court verdict".

The leaked documents alleged there were at least eight off shore companies having links to the Sharif family.

In a tweet message, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz congratulated the nation on Supreme Court's decision of not disqualifying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers case.

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

Justice Khosa said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had failed to probe the case properly but they would be part of the JIT. The opposition accuses Sharif of failing to explain the source of money in offshore companies owned by his children and of lying to Parliament.

Investigators will now focus on a new probe, regarding how the family members transferred money to Qatar. The case date backs to the major leak by Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm which named Sharif's daughter and two sons.

The affair comes ahead of next year's general election at which Imran Khan, the chair of the opposition Pakistan Movement of Justice party (PTI) is to challenge Sharif. This simply means the Prime Minister will be on the mercy of the ISI and the Pakistan Army.

Since the Panama Papers in June 2016, opposition parties have been jumping at the opportunity to register their protests and mobilise supporters to rally against Nawaz Sharif.

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