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Pakistan court orders further graft probe against Sharif

23 April 2017
Pakistan court orders further graft probe against Sharif

The high-profile graft case is about alleged money laundering by Sharif in 1990s when he twice served as the Prime Minister to purchase assets in London that surfaced when Panama papers a year ago showed they were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif's children.

While Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed called for Sharif's disqualification, the other three judges said there must be a new multi-agency investigation into the allegations against the Prime Minister and his family.

"We are ready for all kinds of investigation", Mr. Sharif's Defence Minister, Khawaja Asif, told reporters outside the court.

"I would characterise this judgement of Pakistan Supreme Court as providing considerable relief to Nawaz Sharif, because though it was slightly split verdict three judges were in favour of Sharif while two were against".

Sharif defended himself in parliament last year saying the wealth his family possesses was acquired legally several years before he even ventured into politics.

Pakistani media on Friday gave a mixed reaction to the Supreme Court's verdict on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's high-profile graft case with some calling it just a momentary relief while others contemplating its moral impact on the embattled premier.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan, after the ruling, urged Sharif to resign during the duration of the investigation into how the Sharif family's money was transferred to Qatar.

Malta's minister Konrad Mizzi and Prime Minister chief of staff Keith Schembri were also named in the leak, exposed as having off-shore companies in Panama.

About 500 security personnel have been deployed in advance of the decision, with access to the Pakistan Supreme Court sealed except for those with special passes.

Prime minister Sharif's government was sacked by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan for alleged corruption in April, 1993.

Those facing corruption allegations include Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz, who tweeted ahead of the decision that she was amazed and humbled over seeing so much support from the people for her father.

The bench examined arguments presented by the PTI, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), the Watan Party and the All Pakistan Muslim League, which framed the case as a campaign against corruption and were pushing for Sharif's ouster.

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

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is still standing. There is nothing incriminating against the PM and the JIT [joint investigation team] will not find anything against him.

Khan's party said before the ruling that it would not launch a new street movement if it was disappointed by the judgement.