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Court orders probe into corruption allegations against Pakistan PM's family

Court orders probe into corruption allegations against Pakistan PM's family

The apex court by a verdict of 3-2 ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Committee (JIT) to probe whether Sharif and his family is guilty of amassing illegal wealth overseas.

The court also ordered Sharif and his sons Hasan and Hussein to appear before the JIT as and when required.

"The prime minister should immediately resign at least for the 60 days until JIT completes its work", Khan told reporters, referring to the joint investigation team.

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.

The court acted on petitions from opposition lawmakers dating back to documents leaked in 2016 from a Panama-based law firm that indicated Sharif's sons owned several offshore companies.

Sharif has weathered the attack on his political career, but he does not emerge unscathed because the court's decision was inconclusive.

"Whether the court convicts him or not today it spells trouble and the prime minister will be weakened", said Herald newspaper editor Badar Alam.

Justice Asif Khosa and Justice Gulzar concluded that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should be disqualified.

The JIT will continue investigation on how funds were transferred to Qatar, thus the tension will remain for Sharif and his family till investigation is over. In its ruling, it said sufficient evidence was not available to order his removal from office. This simply means the Prime Minister will be on the mercy of the ISI and the Pakistan Army.

"A decision which the Supreme Court could not make, how will the Grade-19 officers under the PM decide the case?" he asked.

The Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), Sharif's party, accepted the judgment.

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.

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

He had served as the Prime Minister from 1990 to 1993 and from 1997 to 1999. "I also says that people have been made fools through the judgement", said Zardari.

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

Earlier, the area around the Supreme Court, located in Islamabad's Red Zone, was put on "red alert", with around 1,500 police, rangers and frontier constabulary personnel deployed for security and maintaining peace.


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