Thursday, 17 August, 2017

Nawaz Sharif vacates PM House; off to Murree with family

The next PM? Nawaz Sharif quits as Prime Minister after Pakistan SC unseats him in Panamagate
Christy Curtis | 31 July, 2017, 01:18

On Friday, the Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from office on the grounds he did not report a nominal monthly salary from his son's Dubai-based company, money the prime minister says he never received.

The ruling PML-N party has a strong majority in parliament so should have no problem appointing its choice as the new prime minister.

"In the circumstances, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar ought to consider, following an appropriate petition, convening the full court to review the five-member bench's final judgment in the Panama Papers case".

Shahbaz Sharif will have to resign from his seat in the Punjab assembly and contest a by-election for the seat left vacant after his elder brother's disqualification. But Shehbaz, the 65-year-old chief minister of Punjab, can not immediately replace his brother as he is not an MP.

For the interim period, former petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will serve as the new premier. They have worked closely together ever since, also during their time in exile in Saudia Arabia.

Nawaz Sharif, still smarting from the shock disqualification by the Supreme Court for dishonesty, wants to know if everyone else in Pakistan was "Sadiq and Ameen" (honest and righteous).

Sharif announced judicial probe into Panama Papers charges.

Sharif's link to the UAE company was exposed as part of an investigation into corruption allegations against his family that erupted as a result of the Panama Papers leak previous year. The country has been ruled by military generals for more than half of its 70-year history and the military unwilling to see its influence challenged.

Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, which held street protests until the Supreme Court agreed to investigate Sharif, plans to hold a rally in the capital Islamabad on Sunday to celebrate his removal. He was sacked in 1993 by the President over graft allegations and ousted in a military coup in 1999.

After some legal and constitutional wrangling, Sharif was re-elected Prime Minister for a third time in 2013 despite accusations of vote-rigging.

The United States and the European Union have urged a smooth democratic transition in the South Asian country.

Investigators, including members of the country's two top spy agencies - the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Military Intelligence - had questioned Sharif's children, his son-in-law, Shehbaz Sharif, as well as two close aides. But transferring the power to his brother will ensure continuation of policies, including fight against terrorism.

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