In a major blow to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday gave a split judgement on the highly anticipated Panama Papers case, issuing an order for the formation of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe how the Sharif family transferred money to Qatar, according to media reports.
Meanwhile, the decision of the court has put the fate of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister of Pakistan in tenterhooks. Many fears that the verdict would once again put the country into another political uncertanity.
Reading the verdict, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa asks how the 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, according to the verdict.
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.
Pakistani Newspaper Dawn reported that Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters outside the apex court that the verdict was split-3-2.
High security has been placed in the court premises before the verdict was announced. Around 1,500 police commandos and riot forces have been deployed around the court in Islamabad ahead of the highly-anticipated decision, expected in the afternoon. Dozens of baton-wielding police were also seen along some roads leading into the capital, reported Express Tribune.
On 4 January, legal proceedings were initiated against Sharif’s family members under a reconstituted five-judge Supreme Court bench. The case deals with Sharif’s children amassing unaccounted wealth in eight offshore accounts set up in tax havens. The money from these accounts was allegedly used to purchase four prime properties in London. The issue first came to light when documents belonging to Mossack Fonseca, a law firm that helped high profile individuals set up shell companies, were leaked.
The case filed by various petitioners — Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed — essentially seeks disqualification of Prime Minister Sharif over his alleged misstatement in his address to the nation on April 5 and his speech before the National Assembly on May 16, 2016.