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Pakistan PM resigns after Supreme Court disqualifies him

Dubai: Pakistanis Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the historic Panamagate case on Friday.

The prime minister was disqualified from holding public office. The judges ruled that the prime minister had been dishonest to parliament and the courts and could not be deemed fit for the prime minister’s office.

The verdict was handed down unanimously by a five-member bench in the court.

The Supreme Court has also ordered to register corruption cases against Sharif and his family members, including his daughter Mariam Sharif and his two sons Hassan and Hussain and his son-in-law.

The court has also barred Sharif from taking part in politics.

Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar disqualified

The court has also disqualified Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar from holding his post and directed NAB to file reference against him on corruption charges.  

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan announced the verdict. Justice Khan said all material collected by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) would be sent to an accountability court within six weeks, and cases should be opened against Sharif’s daughter Maryam, and sons Hassan and Hussain. 

The five-member bench of the Supreme Court, which heard the Panama Papers case, issued the final verdict. They included: Justices Asif Saeed Khosa, Ejaz Afzal Khan, Gulzar Ahmed, Shaikh Azmat Saeed and Ejazul Ahsan.

Over the last few days, the entire country has been awaiting the historic verdict with bated breath. 

Sharif resigned

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has resigned from his post following the Supreme Court verdict to disqualify him in Panamagate case. The decision was taken in high level meeting of his senior party leaders at the Prime Minister house. 

Who will be the next prime minister? 

Sharif and his party members will decide the name of the new prime minister of Pakistan after further consultation. It may be clarified that Sharif’s PML-N holds the majority seats in the National Assembly and the new prime minister will be chosen from his party. Though Sharif himself will not be Prime Minister, he will continue to hold strings of the new prime minister.

The court also directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to decide the cases against the culprits and conclude the investigations within six months. If proven guilty by the NAB, Sharif and his family members can face jail terms.

The court in its verdict says that Sharif has been unable to prove his assets. 

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Election Commission of Pakistan will issue the notification to disqualify Sharif and remove him from the post of Prime Minister and as member of the National Assembly of Pakistan (lower house). 

The twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been put on high alert in anticipation of the SC verdict.

The Red Zone area around the Supreme Court and the parliament was partially sealed and people were only after undergoing identification and strict security checks.

Around 3,000 police and paramilitary forces were deployed around the court in Islamabad ahead of the ruling,  a police spokesman said.

Meanwhile, celebrations erupted amongst the supports of Imran Khan, Chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who launched ‘Go Nawaz Go’ movement and filed petitions against Sharif alleging him of corruption charges and running off shore companies details of which were revealed in the Panama leaks. 

The court had in April declared there was “insufficient evidence” to oust Sharif over the graft allegations engulfing his family, and ordered an investigation team to probe the matter.

The team of civilian and military investigators found there was a “significant disparity” between the Sharif family’s income and lifestyle in its report submitted to the court earlier this month.

The Sharifs and their allies have consistently and noisily rejected the claims, with his ruling PML-N party this month dismissing the investigation team’s report as “trash”.

The controversy erupted last year with the publication of 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca documenting the offshore dealings of many of the world’s rich and powerful.

At the heart of the case is the legitimacy of the funds used by the Sharif family to purchase several high-end London properties via offshore companies.

The PML-N insists the wealth was acquired legally.

The push against Sharif has been spearheaded by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party, who said Sharif has lost “moral authority”.

Sharif has been ousted by graft allegations once before, during the first of his three terms as prime minister in 1993.

He has not yet completed a term as prime minister, having been toppled in his second term by a military coup in 1999.

His party currently has no clear successor in place. Daughter Maryam does not hold public office, while his brother Shahbaz Sharif, the current chief minister of Punjab province, holds only a provincial seat.