ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan announced a landmark judgment on Friday, disqualifying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and some of his family members on the charge of tax evasion, money-laundering and concealment of assets.
The verdict in the case was announced by a five-member bench of the SC which had initiated hearings on Panama Papers Scam last year, following submission of petitions by Pakistan Tereek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami Muslim League Pakistan (AMLP).
The bench comprised of Justices Asif Saeed Khosa, Ejaz Afzal Khan, Gulzar Ahmed, Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Ijazul Ahsan.
In its concluding remarks, the bench stated, “It is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from Capital FZE Jebel Ali, UAE in his nomination papers filed for the General Elections held in 2013 in terms of Section 12(2)(f) of the representation of the People Act 1976 (ROPA), and having furnished a false declaration under solemn affirmation respondent no. 1 Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is not honest in terms of Section 99(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and therefore he is disqualified to be a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).”
In a separate note, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan mentioned: “He [Nawaz] is no more eligible to be an honest member of Parliament, and he ceases to be holding the office of prime minister,”.
The appellant parties had filed petitions with SC last year (2016) after suspected tax evasion, money laundering and concealment of assets was disclosed through famous Panama Papers leaks.
Main respondent, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has been disqualified as he could not satisfy the court into the alleged tax evasion, money laundering and concealment of assets cases.
Therefore, in its final decision the court has also directed the National Accountably Bureau (NAB) to reopen cases carrying matters pertaining to tax evasion and money laundering.
The court had asked the prime minister and his children for several opportunities to furnish lawful record of establishment of industries abroad and purchase documents of flats in London.
It is pertinent to mention that five member bench previously had announced another decision in this regard. Then, on April 20, after hearing Panama Case for months, the bench had divided into 3-2 judgment wherein Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed had dissenting notes for disqualification of PM.
And, a JIT was formed under other three views that made-up the majority consent to form JIT and let it administer an investigation into Shairf family assets and money trail.
Contrary to the public claims, the PM and his family failed to justify their domestic and offshore properties. Thereafter, the court had setup a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in order to probe the allegation to administer an investigation into Sharif family’s assets within 60 days.
Besides this the court had also asked the Sharif family to provide legal record about their assets and business before JIT in order to justify their claim of committing no wrongdoing or being involved in tax evasion, money laundering and concealment of assets.
However, the JIT concluded that Sharif family has income beyond their means and provided no details of business and purchase of flats in London’s posh area.
Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who had headed the apex court’s implementation bench following its April 20 order on the Panama Papers case, took note of JIT report consisting of investigations complications. Three member implementation bench of SC had reserved decision on the July 21st, 2017.