Panama verdict victory for people of Pakistan: Saad Rafique

Panama verdict victory for people of Pakistan: Saad Rafique

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was given a reprieve today when the Supreme Court ordered he be investigated for corruption, but ruled there was not yet sufficient evidence to oust him from power.

A Joint Investigation team (JIT) will be formed to carry out further investigation as per the court's verdict and the committee comprising of one senior official each from the FIA, NAB, SECP, SBP, ISI, and MI will be tasked to probe the assets.

The names of members of the JIT must be announced within seven days, and a probe report must be released within 60 days.

Sharif and his children are accused of graft in the ongoing case which has captivated Pakistan and threatened to topple the prime minister after the Panama Papers leak past year linked the family to offshore businesses.

The Pakistani politician was mentioned in the Panama Papers in the context of his children's links to accounts and offshore companies revealed by the leak. The court has rejected the earlier explanation offered by the lawyers representing Sharif and his family. Sources say this verdict is a takeover of Sharif by the army.

" Prime Minister Sharif should resign immediately as he has lost all moral authority".

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The inclusion of the intelligence agencies in the investigation means Sharif and his family "won't be able to play around or drag their feet", he said. However, the bench remarked that prime minister had not been disqualified. Now the court has given a final verdict on Thursday afternoon, concluding that the evidence is insufficient. At least the prime minister's children admitted that they own property overseas.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and other opposition leaders have alleged that the Prime Minister and his family illegally profited from his position.

The petitioners claimed that the Prime Minister lied about the investments made by his children in offshore companies, which led to the acquisition of four apartments in London's upscale Park Lane neighbourhood.

Various parties, including the state bank, the Inter-Services Intelligence and the military intelligence will form part of the investigation team.

But Naseem said that with three of the institutions involved in the joint investigation under Sharif's control, a decision against him was unlikely.

Pervez Musharraf revealed that the verdict given by Supreme Court reveals that the Panamagate is not over yet. The JIT must report its progress to the court on a weekly basis.