Pakistan’s ‘Panamagate’ climax ends; Supreme Court says probe needed

MAMOSA Report — There is insufficient evidence to remove Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption allegations ruled Pakistan Supreme Court on Thursday while handing out neither a clean chit nor a disqualification.

The apex court instead ordered the formation of a joint investigation team to continue probe into the Panamagate case saying there’s “insufficient evidence to remove Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”

The team will comprise representatives from the military, NAB, security exchange commission, FIA and other investigating agencies, the court ruled in a 3-2 decision.

The JIT has been given two months to complete the probe. The premier along with his two sons, Hussain and Hasan, has been asked to appear before the JIT.

Reading the verdict, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa asked how Sharif family assets were transferred from Jeddah.

“It needs to be investigated how the money was transferred to Qatar,” the verdict read.

The premier’s sons Hasan and Hussain Nawaz will have to appear before the JIT, says SC.

Related article: Pakistan braces for Supreme Court decision on ‘Panamagate’

According to initial reports, the verdict is divided in the ratio 3:2. Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar have called for the disqualification of PM Nawaz.

The two judges ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif, whereas the other three were in favor of forming a JIT.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa read out the 540-page verdict.

All five judges, however, raised questions regarding the money trail for the Sharif family’s Gulf steel mill and ordered the JIT to investigate the letter from a Qatari royal ─ dismissed today by the bench ─ which was submitted by Sharif’s lawyer as evidence in the case.

Justice Khosa asserted that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had been unsuccessful in playing their role effectively.

A five-judge bench, comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, heard the case.

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 were the respondents in the case.

The petitioners had asserted the revelations brought forth in the Panama Papers, published by the International Consortium of Journalists on April 3, 2016, as ‘evidence’ that the premier had lied to the nation in an address to Parliament where he ‘explained’ his position following the leaks.

Developing news…

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