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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/15/17

Pakistan Supreme Court to decide the fate of Prime Minister after damning corruption probe report

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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The Supreme Court of Pakistan is expected to decide the fate of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when it takes up the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report on Monday, July 17. The JIT has charged the ruling family with perjury, having disproportionate income and living beyond their means.

Two judges of the court have already declared the Prime Minister as not being truthful. If three judges agree on the findings of the JIT, Nawaz Sharif could face disqualification from politics.

The JIT, probing the Panama Papers, pointed out failure on the part of the Sharifs to produce the required information that would confirm their "known sources of income", saying that prima facie, it amounted to saying that they were not able to reconcile their assets with their means of income.

The assets of Prime Minister's family were revealed in the findings published by the Panama Papers in April last year.

The JIT report said the financial structure and wealth of companies in Pakistan that are linked to the Sharifs also do not substantiate the family's wealth and a significant disparity exists between the wealth declared by the Sharifs and the means through which they generated income.

Moreover, the report highlights the "irregular movement of huge amounts in shape of loans and gifts" from the Saudi-based company Hill Metals Establish ment, the UK-based Flag ship Investments Limited and the UAE-based Capital FZE, to Nawaz Sharif, his son Hus sain Nawaz and the Pakistan-based companies of the prime minister and his family.

"The role of offshore companies is critically important as several offshore companies (Nescoll Limited, Niel son Enterprises Limited, Alanna Services Ltd, Lam kin S.A. Coomber Group Inc and Hiltern International Ltd) have been identified to be linked with their businesses in UK," the report states.

These companies, it said, were mainly used for "inflow of funds into UK-based companies, which not only acquired expensive properties in UK from such funds but also revolve these funds amongst their companies of United Kingdom (UK), Saudi Arab, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan".

A major part of the JIT probe involved intricate foreign financial transactions that had taken place over the years through the offshore companies owned by the Sharif family.

On July 10, the JIT submitted its findings and declared that the Prime Minister remained chairman of FZE Capital Company in Dubai, contrary to his statement in Parliament that he was not part of any business since 1998.

The JIT accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam and her brothers of signing forged documents to obscure ownership of offshore companies used to buy posh London flats.

Nawaz Sharif rejects demands for resignation

Tellingly, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his party, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), remain defiant in the face of the opposition's call for his ouster, with the ruling party vowing to challenge the JIT report.

Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said he would not step down in the wake of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report, which concluded that him and his family not only concealed assets from tax authorities, but also committed perjury by submitting fake documents to conceal information.

"I will not resign on the demand of a group of conspirators. The journey of progress will not be allowed to derail as the country has already paid a huge price due to political crises in the past," he was quoted as saying by the state-run media.

But Opposition parties have persisted with the resignation demand. Opposition leaders Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) and Bilawal Bhutto of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) have warned that "democracy could be in danger" if Mr. Sharif did not agree to step down.

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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