The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday passed its verdict in Panamagate case that changed the fate of country's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The Supreme Court bench ruled that Sharif was dishonest to Parliament and the courts and could not be deemed fit for his office, and hence "The Election Commission of Pakistan shall issue a notification disqualifying respondent No. 1 Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif from being a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) with immediate effect, whereafter he shall cease to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan".
The Supreme Court order,by a majority of 3 to 2, also said: "The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is required to take all necessary steps under the Constitution to ensure continuation of the democratic process."
The Supreme Court said there are many questions that need further thorough investigation.
The apex court questioned: "how did Gulf Steel Mill come into being; what led to its sale; what happened to its liabilities; where did its sale proceeds end up; how did they reach Jeddah, Qatar and the U.K.; whether Hussain Nawaz Sharif and (Hassan Nawaz Sharif) in view of their tender ages had the means in the early nineties to possess and purchase the flats; whether sudden appearance of the letters of Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber AlThani is a myth or a reality; how bearer shares crystallized into the flats; who, in fact, is the real and beneficial owner of M/s Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, how did Hill Metal Establishment come into existence; where did the money for Flagship Investment Limited and other companies set up/taken over by Hassan Nawaz Sharif come from, and where did the Working Capital for such companies come from and where do the huge sums running into millions gifted by Hussain Nawaz Sharif to Nawaz Sharif drop in from, which go to the heart of the matter and need to be answered. Therefore, a thorough investigation in this behalf is required."
The Panamagate case was brought to court by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan alleging money laundering, corruption, and contradictory statements by Nawaz Sharif after the Panama Papers leak uncovered links between Sharif's family and eight offshore companies.
The Supreme Court also ordered to constitute a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which will be headed by an officer of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) not below the rank of Additional Director General having firsthand experience of investigation of white collar crime and related matters.
It will also include representatives of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Security & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
The heads of these institutions are directed to recommend the names of their nominees for the JIT within seven days.
The JIT shall investigate the case and collect evidence, if any; showing that Nawaz Sharif or any of his dependents or benamidars owns, possesses or has acquired assets or any interest therein disproportionate to his known means of income.
The apex court has directed Nawaz Sharif and his sons- Hussain and Hassan to appear and associate themselves with the JIT as and when required.
The JIT may also examine the evidence and material, if any, already available with the FIA and NAB relating to or having any nexus with the possession or acquisition of the aforesaid flats or any other assets or pecuniary resources and their origin.
The JIT shall submit its periodical reports every two weeks before a Bench of this Court constituted in this behalf. The JIT shall complete the investigation and submit its final report before the said Bench within a period of sixty days from the date of its constitution.
The Supreme Court Bench also requested Chief Justice to constitute a Special Bench to ensure implementation of this judgment "so that the investigation into the allegations may not be left in a blind alley."
It also requested Chief Justice of Pakistan to nominate a Judge of Supreme Court to supervise and monitor implementation of the judgment in letter and spirit and oversee the proceedings conducted by the NAB and the Accountability Court in the above matters.
The Supreme Court also commended and appreciated the work of the JIT, which submitted a report on which Nawaz was disqualified, and safeguarded the interests of the JIT members by directing that "'their tenure of service shall be safeguarded and protected and no adverse action of any nature including transfer and posting shall be taken against them without informing the monitoring Judge of this Court nominated by the Chief Justice of Pakistan".