ISLAMABAD – Highly charged ministers and PML-N workers roared in celebration outside the Supreme Court of Pakistan as it announced much anticipated Panama Case ruling on Thursday.
Riot police have surrounded the building of the top court in the capital, Islamabad as the ruling PML-N and opposition PTI workers awaited the verdict.
Police barred people from entering the court precincts as a five-member bench prepared to hand down the highly anticipated ruling at 2 p.m. (0900 GMT) after nearly two months of deliberation and arguments.
“It is a victory of what Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believes in,” said Railways Minister Khawaja Asif while talking to the media outside the SC building.
“The prime minister has not been disqualified,” the minister cheered, adding, “Nawaz Sharif is ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Amin’.”
Supporters of the Nawaz-led government also raised slogans against the opposition PTI – ‘Go Imran Go’ – as they celebrated the split judgement on the highly anticipated Panama Papers case.
The Supreme Court, in its ruling, ordered the formation of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the Sharif family’s involvement in corruption as stated in the Panama leaks, according to media reports.
Investigators will now focus on how the family members transferred money to Qatar.
The so-called Panama Papers – 11 million secret documents leaked from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca – set out the offshore financial activities of political and business leaders and the wealthy elite around the world.
There are legitimate ways of using tax havens and offshore companies, although these entities are often used to hide the true owners of assets or avoid paying tax on the money.
Opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has demanded resignation of the prime minister. “I demand Nawaz Sharif resign… Until the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) completes its probe,” Khan said.
“If you’re cleared within 60 days, you can return,” Khan said.