Panama verdict was not ‘split decision’: Pakistan minister

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Islamabad, April 21 (IANS) Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Friday rejected the notion that the Panama Papers verdict was a “split decision”, adding that although the judges’ opinions may be different, “all five signed off on formation of a Joint Investigation team (JIT)”.

Speaking to the media here, Nisar mentioned how the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leadership had initially demanded that a JIT, including members from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI), be formed to investigate allegations of corruption, Dawn online reported.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif got a temporary reprieve after the Supreme Court in its highly-anticipated verdict in the Panamagate scandal said there was “insufficient evidence” to remove him from office but ordered a fresh probe into the graft allegations against him and his family.

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The verdict that was split 3-2 among the five-judge bench, comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

Later on Thursday, the Prime Minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz’s name was also cleared in the case due to lack of evidence.

The JIT would be set up within a week and will require to submit a report in 60 days.

The Interior Minister also expressed his discomfort with political parties announcing protests, terming it as detrimental to the integrity of the SC’s verdict, reports Dawn online.

Nisar also commented on the nature of the allegations against Sharif.

“The onus of proving a case lies with the prosecution all over the world,” said Nisar, adding “But in Pakistan, it is the opposite.”

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“This is not a corruption case,” he said, referring to the scandal.

“Lots of people have houses abroad…Since day one, the Prime Minister has not hidden his assets,” Dawn online quoted Nisar as saying.

Nisar added that the apex court’s decision to further investigate allegations of corruption against the prime minister should be accepted in all its merit.



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