Themorningbellbd.com desk, July 28: Pakistan’s Supreme Court has disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office following an investigation into corruption allegations.
The ruling comes after a probe into his family’s wealth following the 2015 Panama Papers dump linking Mr Sharif’s children to offshore companies.
It comes amid heightened security in the capital, Islamabad.
Mr Sharif has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the case.
The verdict was handed down unanimously by a five-member bench in the court, which was filled to capacity.
Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who had headed the apex court’s implementation bench following its April 20 order on the Panama Papers case, announced the landmark judgement on the case shortly after 12:00pm on Friday.
Justice Khan said the bench had recommended that all material collected by the JIT would be sent to an accountability court within six weeks, and that cases would be opened against Captain Muhammad Safdar, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz as well as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. A judgement should be announced within 30 days, he said.
One judge would oversee the implementation of this order.
The prime minister was additionally disqualified from holding his office. The judges ruled that the prime minister had been dishonest to parliament and the courts and could not be deemed fit for his office.
The judgement was unanimous.
This is the third time the prime minister has been unable to complete his term in the chief executive’s office. It is unclear as of the moment who will be appointed to take over the post till the next general elections, which are scheduled for 2018.
It was also reported that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Captain Safdar, who is an MNA, also stood disqualified from office.
From Friday morning, all eyes were on Courtroom No. 1 of the Supreme Court in Islamabad, where a five-judge bench was set to announce the much-awaited verdict on the Panama Papers case at 11:30am. The proceedings started around half an hour later.
The original five-member bench of the Supreme Court which heard the Panama Papers case issued the final verdict. Justices Asif Saeed Khosa, Ejaz Afzal Khan, Gulzar Ahmed, Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Ijazul Ahsan were present for the hearing.
According to media reports, the courtroom was filled to capacity as prominent politicians, lawyers and journalists crowded the room to hear the judges decide Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s fate.
The twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi had been on high alert in anticipation of the SC verdict.
The Red Zone had also been partially sealed and people were only being allowed inside after undergoing identification and strict security checks.
Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel had been deployed at the Supreme Court and the Red Zone to assist the police.