Nawaz Sharif steps down as PM after Supreme Court verdict in Panamagate
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has removed prime minister Nawaz Sharif from office in a unanimous verdict over corruption allegations and misuse of power
Soon after the Supreme Court judgment, the PM House issued a terse statement saying that Nawaz Sharif, despite having reservations on the SC’s verdict, has stepped down from his post as the premier.
“He is no more eligible to be an honest member of the parliament, and he ceases to be holding the office of prime minister,” the judge Ejaz Afzal Khan said in court.
The Supreme Court also ordered disqualification of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as Senator and and Captain (retd) Safdar as MNA, who is the husband of PM’s daughter Maryam Nawaz.
The court also ordered that all cases of the Sharif family including PM Nawaz Sharif be referred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) within six weeks.
The supreme court bench also referred all material gathered in the investigation to the National Accountability Bureau, and recommended opening cases against the prime minister and his three children, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain.
Supreme Court is hearing Panama Papers case since January this year. Five-judge Supreme Court bench delivered its order in the case on April 20.
Two judges – Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed recommended disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
While other three-judge determined insufficient evidence to disqualify the Prime Minister outright and directed for the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the case.
Later on, a six-member JIT was formed headed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia including one-each member from Military Intelligence, National Accountability Bureau, State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and Inter-Services Intelligence .
On July 10 – JIT found the family of living beyond means, concealment of facts and being beneficial owners of multiple offshore companies and recommended initiation of reference against the PM and members of the ruling family in the NAB.
On July 21 – a three-member special bench reserved the judgment with the ruling to look into the matter of disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying that fundamental rights of both the petitioners and respondents would be fully protected.
Finally – five-member larger bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and including Justice Ejaz Afzal, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsen, announced the judgment. It was unanimous decision by all the five judges.
The SC verdict is a big win for opposition leader Imran Khan chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who has been calling for the ouster of Sharif since the beginning of the scandal.
Opposition leaders Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq and others have lauded the decision of the Supreme Court.