ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday concluded hearing the sensitive Panama Papers case against beleaguered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family for alleged corruption and money laundering, but reserved its verdict that could jeopardise his political future.
The judgment was reserved after counsels of both sides concluded their arguments before a three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan. The bench did not immediately give any date to give its judgement.
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed observed that the court will not deviate from any law while delivering its judgement. “We are conscious of the fundamental rights of petitioners and respondents,” he said.
The apex court also opened the final part of the 10- Volume report submitted by the Joint Investigation Team it had set up to probe the allegations of money laundering by Sharif.
The six-member JIT was set up in May by the Supreme Court with the mandate to probe the Sharif family for allegedly failing to provide the trail of money used to buy properties in London in 1990s.
The JIT has recommended that the report’s Volume-X should be treated as confidential as it contains the details of correspondence with other countries.
Sharif’s legal team has objected to it. Sharif, 67, has rejected all the allegations of corruption against him and his family.
But the JIT report is turning into a major challenge to Sharif, the three-time prime minister. Opposition parties accuse his family of using their political influence to amass wealth by unlawful means and are demanding his resignation.
So far Sharif has refused to quit, calling the investigators’ report a compilation of “allegations and assumptions”. His decision to stay in power was endorsed by the federal Cabinet last week.
The scandal surfaced when the Panama Papers leaks last year revealed that Sharif’s sons — Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz — and his daughter Maryam — owned offshore companies which managed their family’s properties.