Panama Papers Case Verdict Live Updates: Nawaz Sharif Disqualified By Pakistan Supreme Court

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Panama Papers Case Verdict Live Updates: Nawaz Sharif Disqualified By Pakistan Supreme Court

Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by Pakistan Supreme Court in the Panama Papers corruption case.

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office after a damning corruption probe into his family wealth over the Panama Papers leak, cutting short his third stint in power. The Supreme Court dismissed Mr Sharif after an investigative panel alleged his family could not account for its vast wealth. Local media reported a criminal investigation would also be launched against the premier and his family. He is no more eligible to be an honest member of the parliament, and he ceases to be holding the office of prime minister," Judge Ejaz Afzal Khan said in court.

Mr Sharif, 67, has always denied any wrongdoing and has dismissed the investigation into him as biased and inaccurate. Mr Sharif's allies have alleged there was a conspiracy to unseat him. "This is not accountability, it is revenge," tweeted Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq hours before the verdict was announced. "In an effort dislodge us, the democratic system has been made a target." Mr Sharif's two previous stints in power were also cut short, including by a military coup in 1999, but he came back from exile to win a resounding victory in the 2013 general elections. His ruling PML-N party, which has a majority in the parliament, is now expected to appoint a new prime minister.
 

Here are the updates of the Supreme Court order on Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif:




Jul 28, 2017
16:20 (IST)
Imran Khan says, 'Finally the law has caught up with the powerful, I salute the judiciary, they are our heroes. The entire country is celebrating because we think like other countries, we too can move ahead."
Jul 28, 2017
14:27 (IST)
PML-N leaders say Nawaz Sharif will continue to be the party leader, reports Dawn.
Jul 28, 2017
14:00 (IST)
Who will replace Nawaz Sharif? Nawaz Sharif's brother Shahbaz Sharif is the frontrunner, local media reports say.

Speculation within the vocal local media suggests that the party is planning to bring in an interim prime minister for a few weeks before electing Sharif's younger brother Shahbaz Sharif to the post.

The young Sharif is currently chief minister of powerful Punjab province -- the Sharif family stronghold. He would have to step down from that role and be elected to the National Assembly before he was eligible to become prime minister.

That will require a party loyalist to resign from his seat in the national parliament, sparking a hasty vote that Shahbaz would contest on the PML-N ticket.

Shahbaz is considered more intelligent but less charismatic than his older brother.

He has controlled Punjab -- Pakistan's most populous and prosperous province -- for much of the last decade, presiding over a series of big ticket infrastructure projects, including Pakistan's first metro bus service.
Jul 28, 2017
13:58 (IST)
A spokesman of Prime Minister's House has said that Nawaz Sharif has left his office, reports Dawn.
Jul 28, 2017
13:54 (IST)
Could the military take over (again)?

The military has been in charge of Pakistan for half of its 70-year history, but few expect the army to make an explicit bid for power again.

The military already exerts control over foreign policy and defence, leading to accusations from some that it is carrying out a "creeping coup".

"The military doesn't need to take over because it already enjoys so many trappings of power from behind the scenes," said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Washington, DC-based Wilson Centre.

In addition, Kugelman points out, public opinion in Pakistan does not favour a return to martial law.

"There is also simply not as much of an appetite in Pakistan for military rule as there was in previous years. That's important for the military because the military is very concerned about its image and public opinion towards the army," Kugelman said.
Jul 28, 2017
13:54 (IST)
Could an early election be called?

An early election is unlikely because according to the constitution it can only be called by the president on the advice of the prime minister, meaning a successor to Sharif would have to be chosen first.

Elections are currently due in 2018.
Jul 28, 2017
13:54 (IST)
Could the court's decision be challenged?

In theory, yes -- but it is highly unlikely.

Sharif's legal team could file a review petition but only on very limited grounds, such as a mistake in the judgement.

"The Supreme Court is the interpreter and final arbiter of what the constitution means, so if the Supreme Court says that's how it's supposed to be done then for all practical purposes that is what it is," said constitutional lawyer Yasser Latif Hamdani.
Jul 28, 2017
13:53 (IST)
Is there any precedent for this?

Yes, in 2012 then-prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was disqualified over contempt of court charges for refusing to reopen a corruption case against the sitting president Asif Ali Zardari.

After Gilani was ousted by the Supreme Court, President Zardari, the then-head of the ruling Pakistan People's Party, led the negotiations to find a consensus candidate for the premiership.

Following three days of intense horse-trading within the fractious coalition government, PPP-loyalist Raja Pervaiz Ashraf  -- a controversial choice also marred by corruption allegations -- was eventually elected prime minister by the National Assembly.
Jul 28, 2017
13:53 (IST)
What happens now Sharif has been disqualified?

Although Sharif has been disqualified as prime minister, he remains the head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the largest party in the National Assembly.

As such, Sharif will oversee the nomination of his successor who will then be rubber stamped in a parliamentary vote, where his party and coalition partners command a 209-seat majority in the 342-seat house.

The opposition is also expected to field a candidate for the premiership, though the nominee has almost no chance of getting sufficient votes.

The vote will likely happen in a matter of days -- if not hours -- of Sharif's disqualification.
Jul 28, 2017
13:42 (IST)
A five member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled unanimously against Nawaz Sharif

The bench includes:
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa
Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan
Justice Gulzar Ahmed
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed
Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan

Election Commission of Pakistan ordered issue the notification of Nawaz Sharif's disqualification under article 62 F (1)

Reference to be filed against Nawaz Sharif, his children (Marium, Hasan ans Hussain), his son-in-law Safdar and his close aide Ishaq Dar by NAB within 6 weeks.
Jul 28, 2017
13:41 (IST)
Some local media reports say that Nawaz Sharif and his family may be placed on the Exit Control List - preventing them from leaving the country.
Jul 28, 2017
13:40 (IST)
The ruling PML-N party currently has no clear successor in place.

Sharif's daughter Maryam is his presumptive political heir but does not hold public office, while his brother Shahbaz Sharif, the current chief minister of Punjab province, holds only a provincial seat.
Jul 28, 2017
13:39 (IST)
The push against Sharif has been spearheaded by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

"Today (the) Supreme Court has made a new history. I want to thank (the) judges on behalf of the people of Pakistan because they made the impossible possible," PTI vice president Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters outside the court.
Jul 28, 2017
13:39 (IST)
There was no immediate reaction from Sharif or his family to the court ruling Friday.
Jul 28, 2017
13:39 (IST)
The court also asked the national anti-corruption bureau to launch a further probe into the allegations against Sharif, which stem from the Panama Papers leak last year linking the premier's family to lucrative offshore businesses.

The bureau has the power to arrest and bring criminal charges against those it investigates.
Jul 28, 2017
13:38 (IST)
As the verdict was announced opposition supporters erupted in applause, rushing into the street chanting slogans and handing out sweets in celebration.

The decision brings to an unceremonious end Sharif's third term in power, roughly one year before scheduled general elections which would have seen him become the first Pakistani prime minister to complete a full five-year term.
Jul 28, 2017
13:38 (IST)
Pakistan's Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from public office over long-running corruption allegations, a decision that ousts him from the premiership for the third time in a chequered political career.

"He is disqualified as a member of the parliament so he has ceased to be holding the office of Prime Minister," Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan told the packed courtroom in Islamabad.


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