Neither a clean chit nor a disqualification: the drawn out Supreme Court (SC) case probing the Sharif family’s alleged corruption in the Panamagate case ended today as the court ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe how the family’s money was transferred to Qatar. The prime minister and his party breathed a collective sigh of relief, as the fear of an ‘extreme verdict’ — the premier’s ouster — dissolved and gave way to celebrations.
The premier’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, tweeted a photo of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his family and PML-N leaders celebrating the verdict with smiles and embraces.
A five-judge bench, comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, had examined arguments presented by the PTI, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), the Watan Party and the All Pakistan Muslim League, who framed the case out of court as a campaign against corruption.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Hasan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, retired Capt Muhammad Safdar (the PM’s son-in-law) and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar were the respondents in the case.
The petitioners had touted the revelations brought forth in the Panama Papers, published by the International Consortium of Journalists on April 3, 2016, as ‘evidence’ that the premier had lied to the nation in an address to Parliament where he ‘explained’ his position following the leaks.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa began announcing the final verdict in the case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family at Courtroom 1 today at the apex court to an audience of over 400 people, according to TV reports. Justice Ejaz Afzal authored the 540-page verdict.
The final verdict is split 3-2 among the bench, DawnNews reported, with two dissenting notes in the judgement by Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar. The two judges ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif, whereas the other three were in favour of forming a JIT.
All five judges, however, raised questions regarding the money trail for the Sharif family’s Gulf steel mill and ordered the JIT to investigate the letter from a Qatari royal ─ dismissed today by the bench ─ which was submitted by Sharif’s lawyer as evidence in the case.
Justice Khosa asserted that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had been unsuccessful in playing their role effectively.
source : dawn.com