Pakistan opposition vows protests, demands Nawaz Sharif’s resignation

Opposition leader Imran Khan said he would lead protests demanding Nawaz Sharif’s resignation, saying the PM had lost the moral authority to stay in office


The Supreme Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to order Nawaz Sharif’s removal but called for further investigation into corruption allegations in connection with the so-called Panama Papers leaks. Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters
The Supreme Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to order Nawaz Sharif’s removal but called for further investigation into corruption allegations in connection with the so-called Panama Papers leaks. Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistani opposition party legislators tore up the agenda and shouted in a parliament session on Friday as they demanded that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down during an investigation into his finances.

Opposition leader Imran Khan said he would lead protests demanding Sharif’s resignation, saying the prime minister had lost the moral authority to stay in office while being investigated.

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that there was insufficient evidence to order Sharif’s removal from office but called for further investigation into corruption allegations in connection with the so-called Panama Papers leaks.

A five-member bench was split three vote to two in favour of Sharif retaining his position.

On Friday, opposition legislators chanted slogans demanding Sharif’s resignation and tore up the assembly’s agenda for the day, before the speaker suspended the session, television footage showed.

“I was the petitioner in the case, the hearing continued for four months, at least I should have been allowed to speak in the parliament,” Khan, a former cricket star, later told reporters outside the assembly.

The Supreme Court, in its 549-page judgment, ordered a joint investigation team be formed to look into allegations around three of Sharif’s four children using offshore companies to buy properties in London.

The investigating team has two months to complete its inquiry, after which a special bench will decide what action to take, the court said.

The prime minister and his children deny any wrongdoing.

The joint investigation team will comprise members from six different government bodies, including intelligence agencies and financial regulatory authorities.

“At least three institutions are directly under the control of the prime minister and his ministers. I don’t see how they would take a stand against the prime minister,” said legal expert Farogh Naseem.

While the court’s decision has been celebrated by Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz as a victory, legal experts and analysts say the extended investigation undermines his authority as he heads into an election due next year. Reuters

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