Pakistan Prime Minister gets temporary reprieve from Pak SC in the Panamagate assets case
Nawaz Sharif. Pic/AFP
Islamabad: Embattled Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif might have narrowly escaped the jinx attached with April, a month in which Pakistani premiers have previously been overthrown, sentenced to life and hanged.
Sharif yesterday narrowly survived being disqualified after a 3-2 split decision by a Supreme Court bench which said there was "insufficient evidence" to remove him from office, but ordered setting up of a Joint Investigation Team to probe the allegations of money laundering against his family.
The high-profile graft case is about alleged money laundering by Sharif in 1990s when he twice served as the Prime Minister to purchase assets in London that surfaced when Panama papers last year showed they were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif's children.
Supporters of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) celebrate at a rally after the Supreme Court verdict. Pic/AFP
The curse of April
Interestingly, the apex court verdict comes in the same month during which previously Sharif and his government was sacked in 1993 and later, he sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 in the infamous 'plane hijacking case' based on allegations that Sharif had disallowed to land a plane carrying then army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf.
However, other Pakistani premiers too have suffered a bad fate in April.
The worst April in history of the country was April 4, 1979 when former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged for criminal conspiracy to kill a leading politician.
29 No. of assets the Sharif family is alleged to be holding currently
Imran Khan. Pic/AFP
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan yesterday demanded Sharif's resignation after the SC repreieve. "I demand that Sharif should resign immediately as he has lost moral authority to rule the country," Khan said. Khan termed the verdict as indictment of Sharif as the bench did not absolve him of the allegations.