PM Nawaz Sharif neither gets clean chit nor is disqualified

Jatin Desai
Thursday, 11 May 2017

Pakistan Supreme Court’s ruling on the alleged financial irregularities and money laundering of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members is seen in Pakistan as neither clean chit for him nor a disqualification. It’s a face saver for Nawaz Sharif. He will continue as Prime Minister of Pakistan but, surely, coming days will not be smooth for him and his party - Pakistan Muslim League (N). Nawaz Sharif’s supporters distributed sweets in most of the cities of Pakistan and expressed happiness over the ruling.

Pakistan Supreme Court’s ruling on the alleged financial irregularities and money laundering of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members is seen in Pakistan as neither clean chit for him nor a disqualification. It’s a face saver for Nawaz Sharif. He will continue as Prime Minister of Pakistan but, surely, coming days will not be smooth for him and his party - Pakistan Muslim League (N). Nawaz Sharif’s supporters distributed sweets in most of the cities of Pakistan and expressed happiness over the ruling.

Opposition leaders claimed Nawaz Sharif has lost moral ground to continue as the Prime Minister.

Imran Khan of Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) has demanded that Nawaz Sharif step down as he has lost moral authority to stay in office.

Supreme Court in a 3-2 judgement ordered formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe how the family’s money was transferred to Qatar. JIT has to submit its report within sixty days. The Prime Minister and his sons have to appear before the JIT.

A five-judge bench consisting of Justice Asif Khosa, Gulzar Ahmed, Ejaz Khan, Azmat Saeed and Ijazul Ahsan had earlier heard the arguments of PTI, Jamat e Islami and Jamhuri Watan Party. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was not among the petitioners. Senator Sherry Rehman of the PPP tweeted, ”Now does everyone get why the PPP did not go to court? Panama case. The N better wake up. Now the people will begin their own trial.” Sharmila Faruqi, a minister in Sindh and a leader of PPP, said, “Only PMs from PPP are hanged and disqualified…settled and stamped.”

Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed gave dissenting notes and said Nawaz Sharif should be disqualified. The majority judges noted there is insufficient evidence to remove Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Prime Minister’s daughter Maryam tweeted, ”The only regret is SC didn’t accept Qatari letter, Sheikh Hammad will be pissed. I will have to visit Qatar to comfort him.” The JIT will have to submit bi-weekly reports to a special bench of the Supreme Court. The JIT will include representatives from ISI, MI, FIA, State Bank, NAB and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). The JIT will be constituted within seven days.

The judgement is 540 pages long. It says, ”It needs to be investigated how the money was transferred to Qatar?” Heated debate is going on throughout Pakistan. Supreme Court is divided and so are the people.

The Prime Minister and his sons have to appear before JIT. It is a strange scenario where the Prime Minister, who is technically the boss of JIT officials, has to appear before them.

Earlier, Islamabad’s Red Zone had been put on ‘red alert’ with more than 1,500 police, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel deployed for maintaining peace and security in the Supreme Court area.

The ruling by the SC against Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif and his family members for alleged financial irregularities and money laundering is nothing more than a face saver for him. The SC is divided and so are the people. However, the opposition leaders claim that Nawaz Sharif has lost moral ground to continue as the Prime Minister. 

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