Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – While PML-N has declared its ‘victory’ in Supreme Court’s split decision on the much-anticipated Panama Case, the opposition Pakistan People’s Party has called for resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.


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“Nawaz Sharif should hand in his resignation,” said former president Asif Ali Zardari, echoing the call of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan.

“I condemn the [court’s] decision,” Zardari asserted while addressing a press conference on Thursday.

“Mian sahab (Nawaz Sharif) you have failed. You cannot run the government. Give someone else a chance to run the government,” he said.

“A decision which the Supreme Court could not make, how will the Grade-19 officers under the PM decide the case?” he asked.

“They have no concerns except their own enjoyment,” the PPP co-chairman said of the PML-N.

“Why are they distributing sweets? Because two senior judges said you [PM Nawaz Sharif] should be disqualified? Is this why you are eating mithai (sweets)?” he asked.

“You have deceived the nation,” Zardari said.

“Imran Khan, we told you to join us and form legislation and then take it to the court,” he said. “But he [Khan] does not listen. He has never been to jail, he does not know how judges work, how justice works.”

“We believe that if Pakistan is not safe in the hands of Nawaz Sharif, it is also not safe in the hands of Imran Khan,” the former president, whose own party is gunning for a victory in the next election, said.

“I am disappointed by Imran Khan leaving us and going to the SC alone. If Aitzaz Ahsan stood there and argued against them [the Sharif family], then the decision might have been different.”

“We will see what other political forces decide, and the people’s decision will also guide us,” he added.

“I think it is evident now to the nation that Nawaz’s real face is not sharif,” Zardari said.

PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan termed the dissenting notes “heavier than the decision of the other three judges.”

“The two judges have declared the PM is disqualified. The decision of these two judges is the Supreme Court’s decision,” Ahsan said.

A five-judge bench, comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, issued an order for the formation of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the Sharif family’s involvement in corruption as stated in the Panama leaks.

The final verdict is split 3-2 among the bench, with two dissenting notes in the judgment by Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar. The two judges ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif, whereas the other three were in favour of forming a JIT.

The JIT is to include officials NAB, FIA, State Bank of Pakistan, Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, the bench said, and will be led by a director-general level FIA officer.

The names of members of the JIT must be announced within seven days, and a probe report must be released within 60 days. The JIT must report its progress to the court on a weekly basis.