Pakistani PM must appear before new investigative team, court rules

Pakistani PM must appear before new investigative team, court rules

Supporters of Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif celebrate following the Supreme Court decision in Islamabad, Pakistan, on April 20, 2017.

The court late a year ago launched an investigation into the Sharif family's offshore wealth after opposition politicians threatened to spark street protests, and following months of wrangling between the government and opposition over the formation of a judicial commission.

Sharif and his family have denied any wrongdoing, and dismissed the claims as politically motivated. Protesters nearby urged Mr Sharif to step down with shouts of "Go Nawaz, Go Nawaz", Reuters reports.

Talking to media in Islamabad, Imran Khan said that he accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court and praised its five-member bench. Simply, Prime Minister Sharif has got minor relief and major headache from this verdict.

The high court launched an investigation into the offshore wealth of Sharif's family late past year after The Panama Papers linked them to offshore businesses.

The apex court has ordered the formation of a joint investigation team to carry out the investigation, which should present its report every two weeks before the five-judge bench, Dawn has reported. Sharif is seen as pro-business. Three judges ruled in favour of the JIT, which was directed to complete its probe in two months.

"It will be implemented in all its spirit", government Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said immediately after the verdict. Sharif's sons, Hussain and Hasan, and his daughter, Maryam, are accused of being linked to offshore companies that owned properties in London.

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Drawing a comparison between an investigation launched against gangster Uzair Baloch and the premier, Imran said, 'If Nawaz is cleared after JIT's investigation, he can return to the seat'.

The news outlet added that the decision was supported by three court justices, while the two others heading the case voted against.

The other agencies in the JIT include the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

Panama Papers revealed that the Sharif's children owned offshore companies dealing in millions of dollars in property transactions.

Almeida said the prime minister's main vulnerability was the continuing electricity crisis, which he had been unable to solve. The case date backs to the major leak by Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm which named Sharif's daughter and two sons.

The opposition parties after a year-long protest both inside and outside the Parliament had finally taken the case to the country's top court expecting a verdict to oust Sharif from his post.