Pakistan braces for court ruling likely of removing Sharif

Pakistan
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) waits for the arrival of President Mamnoon Hussain during a Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
A top court in Pakistan is set to deliver a verdict that could disqualify Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption allegations and trigger turmoil across the country.

(Press tv) -- Local media reports said that the looming Supreme Court ruling would be announced on Thursday.

The news comes as a drawn-out investigation related to the "Panama Papers" leaks, which revealed the Sharif family's offshore wealth, has neared conclusion.

The court had agreed to investigate the family's wealth late last year after opposition leader Imran Khan threatened street protests.

Judicial experts say the court action could clear the prime minister or order a further judicial commission of inquiry or even declare him ineligible to hold office,

Both the government and opposition figures have expressed confidence over the imminent ruling.

Talal Chaudhry, a prominent leader of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said the court would clear the prime minister of corruption charges.

"There is no chance that decision will come against our leadership. Our government and entire leadership are performing their duties as per routine," local media outlets quoted Chaudhry as saying

Naeem ul Haque, a spokesman for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), however, expected a verdict against Sharif. "Imran Khan has clearly stated that we will accept the decision of the Supreme Court, but we believe that enough evidence has been presented to remove the prime minister and that a verdict should be reached that is based on the evidence."

Observers say disqualifying Sharif would leave his party in power, but it would cause intense turmoil across Pakistan.

Since early April 2016, millions of confidential documents from the Panamanian Mossack Fonseca have been published, showing how the law firm helped rich and powerful clients across the world with shady businesses.

The clients reportedly included three of Sharif's children, who carried out business transactions that could be judged as money laundering and tax avoidance.

The leaked records revealed that Sharif's children, Hasan, Hussain and Maryam, not only owned offshore companies, but also real estate property in London.

People in Pakistan, with Imran Khan at the helm, had been asking for an inquiry to determine how Sharif’s children made all that money to buy offshore companies and real estate in London's prime locations, and whether they had paid their due tax on their income.

The rich and influential Sharif family has always been tied up in legal battles involving cases of corruption, tax avoidance and money laundering over the past years.

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