Islamabad: The Pakistan Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after a probe team found his wealth far above his earnings in the Panama Papers case.
The Supreme Court’s verdict means Nawaz Sharif will cease to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He will also have to cease control of the party
The Court also referred the graft case to National Accountability Court. The bench also ordered the National Accountability Bureau to wrap up the case in six weeks.
Five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and including Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsen, announced the judgment. It was an unanimous decision by all the five judges.
The Supreme Court’s verdict was being seen as a decisive step for the political future of Nawaz Sharif. The court also found the family of Nawaz Sharif guilty of money-laundering in the case.
The Panamagate scandal is about alleged money laundering by Sharif in 1990s, when he twice served as prime minister, to purchase assets in London.
The assets surfaced when Panama Papers leak last year revealed that they were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif’s children.
The assets include four expensive flats in London. Sharif, who has been the prime minister of Pakistan for a record three time, faces the risk of being disqualified if the court finds him guilty of corruption and money laundering. He leads Pakistan’s most powerful political family and the ruling PML-N party.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan today said that he would resign and quit politics after the Supreme Court judgement on the Panamagate case.
His announcement, which comes a day before the verdict in the high-profile case, stunned his supporters and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.
Khan expressed serious disappointment over the way he was kept away from Sharif by his rivals.
The verdict was keenly awaited as both of Sharif’s first two stints have ended in the third year of his tenure. A steel tycoon-cum-politician, Sharif had served as the Pakistan’s prime minister for the first time from 1990 to 1993. His second term from 1997 was ended in 1999 by Army chief Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless coup.
(With Inputs from IANS & PTI)