ISLAMABAD: Announcing the much-awaited Panama papers case verdict, the Pakistan Supreme Court today neither gave a clean chit nor a disqualification to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as the apex court ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe how money was transferred to Qatar.
The Sharif family was seen celebrating post the verdict – which if would have been extreme would have resulted in the ouster of the Prime Minister – as the premier’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, tweeted a photo of Sharif, his family and party leaders celebrating.
According to the Dawn, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters outside the court that the verdict was split 3-2.
"They have said what the PM already said in his letter - that a commission should be constituted to investigate the matter," he said.
"We are ready for all kinds of investigation. It has been established today that any evidence or sacrifices given by our opponents in the SC were not enough. We have succeeded," he added.
The Panama Papers, which refer to a massive trove of secret documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca — which specialised in helping the global elite stash wealth in offshore tax havens — had said that the Prime Minister's children Maryam, Hasan and Hussain Nawaz "were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several [offshore] companies".
At least eight offshore companies were found to have links to the Sharif family in the documents that were leaked following which the case was filed by various petitioners - PTI chief Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed – seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Sharif over his alleged misstatement in his address to the nation on April 5 and his speech before the National Assembly on May 16, 2016.
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.