Supreme Court Orders Further Investigation
April 20, 2017
Pakistan’s Supreme Court Thursday ordered the formation of a joint
investigation team to examine allegations of corruption against the
country’s prime minister and his sons.
The decision by a five-member bench, headed by the country’s chief
justice, also ordered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons Hassan,
and Hussein Nawaz to appear before the investigation team.
The court ordered the team to present its report to the apex court every
two weeks and finish its investigation in two months.
The much-awaited decision came almost two months after the court
finished hearing hundreds of hours of arguments by the two sides and
reserved its judgment in February.
The petition against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children, filed
by his main opponent Imran Khan and others, had requested the court
disqualify him for corruption, tax evasion, and money laundering. Sharif
denied any wrongdoing and his supporters alleged that Khan was trying to
derail their government.
Both sides hailed the court’s decision as a victory for them, with
Sharif’s party saying the court has rejected the evidence presented
before it and Khan’s party saying the court has shown that Sharif had
been unable to show a clean money trail.
The months-long media frenzy surrounding the case reached a fevered
pitch Wednesday when the court indicated it would announce the decision
Almost all of Pakistan’s news channels started running non-stop special
programming examining every angle of the case and speculating about the
Meanwhile, the capital’s police prepared for the decision by deploying
hundreds of personnel around the Supreme Court and surrounding area and
blocking access to the red zone, which included major government
buildings and foreign embassies.
Police also reached out to the local leaders of political parties and
asked for their help in keeping their workers calm after the decision.
Both Sharif and Khan told their workers to stay away from the court.
Those who wanted to attend the Supreme Court hearing needed special
passes from the police.
Major political parties called meetings of their senior leadership to
chart a way forward on the basis of the decision.
Investigative journalists' report
The controversy erupted in April last year soon after the International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists published their Pulitzer prize
winning investigation of a global financial industry that helped
political leaders, businessmen, criminals, and others around the globe
hide their ill gotten gains or provide tax havens through offshore
The names of Prime Minister Sharif’s children appeared in the leaked
documents linked to offshore accounts and the purchase of four luxury
flats in Central London.
the prime minister himself was not named in the documents, he faced
questions about where the money came from, whether it was laundered, and
why weren’t the flats declared.
His chief opponent Khan, who had always accused Sharif of large scale
corruption, touted the papers as proof that Sharif and his family were
looting the country. Khan said the prime minster has lost his moral
authority and should resign.
While Sharif’s two sons are outside the country and run their own
businesses, his daughter lives with him. She is also considered his
political successor. The opposition was trying to prove that she was her
father’s financial dependent and whatever she owned came from him.
While the court heard arguments in the case, both sides tried to fight a
simultaneous media trial with daily press conferences and appearances in
television talk shows.