The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) on Friday nominated former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s younger brother Shehbaz Sharif for the post, Geo News reported. The PMLN came to the decision at a high-level meeting, hours after the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding office for life because of corruption charges against him and his family in the Panama Papers case.
Shehbaz Sharif is currently the chief minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province. His election to the National Assembly seat will be held after the 45-day interim period. The party has not yet announced who will serve as the acting prime minister during these six weeks.
The Pakistani Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif from the prime minister’s post after hearing allegations against him and his children in the Panama Papers scandal. The judged said he had been dishonest to Parliament and the courts and was not fit to hold the position.
It was a unanimous decision by the five-judge bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and comprising justices Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Asif Saeed Khosa, Ijazul Ahsan and Gulzar Ahmed.
Imran Khan welcomes SC verdict against Nawaz Sharif
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan on Friday welcomed the apex court’s verdict and said it marks the start of a new era in the history of Pakistan, reported Dawn.
“Pakistan has won today,” said Khan. “I have no personal agenda against Nawaz Sharif. I have known his family for 40 years, he did not take anything of mine. He has done wrong to the people of this country and that was why we wanted him to be held accountable.”
Khan said he hopes justice will be held supreme from now on. “Historically there have always been two kinds of laws prevailing in the country; one for the weak and poor and the other for the rich and powerful,” said the former cricketer-turned-politician. “I hope and pray that this win brings the nation together and we are able to save Pakistan.”
The Panama Papers case
The Supreme Court had set up the Joint Investigation Team after Sharif was named in the Panama Papers leak in 2016. The leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca had revealed that three of his children – his sons Hassan and Hussain Sharif and his daughter Maryam Sharif – owned offshore companies and undisclosed assets, including four expensive flats in Park Lane, London.
The bench had begun its hearing in the corruption case against Sharif on July 17. It had heard arguments from lawyers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan Awami Muslim League politician Sheikh Rashid. The court had concluded the hearing on July 21, and reserved its judgement.
The panel had said it had found significant disparities between Sharif’s and his family’s income and their actual wealth, and recommended filing a corruption case against them. The family members implicated include Sharif’s
Sharif continues to retain the status of a billionaire. His declared assets stood at at 1.84 billion Pakistani rupees (Rs 1.13 billion) in 2016.