Apex court rejects call to remove Sharif

Rejection of JIT contempt of court Marriyum

Rejection of JIT contempt of court Marriyum

The court also ordered that a joint investigation team be formed to look into allegations concerning the transfer of Sharif and his family of money from Pakistan to Qatar, the same money that was used later to buy properties in London, according to some reports.

Pakistan's Supreme Court has ruled there was insufficient evidence to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption allegations, but has ordered a high-level investigation into the charges.

The final verdict was split 3-2 among the five-judge bench, with two dissenting notes in the judgement by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

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.

Around 1,500 police commandos and riot forces had been deployed around the court in Islamabad ahead of the highly anticipated decision.

They were published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists after an extensive probe involving several news organizations.

Opposition leader and lawyers termed the court's verdict as an indictment of Sharif and demanded his resignation. Pakistan's most prominent opposition politician, Imran Khan, had said before the ruling that it would be a "defining moment in the country's history".

Mr Sharif's daughter Maryam, tipped as a future political star, and his sons Hasan and Hussein are implicated in the allegations.

The Supreme Court could take a range a of steps. "I have known Nawaz Sharif for over 30 years and I know how he made his money".

Before the ruling, Maryam Sharif thanked her father's supporters on her official Twitter account.

The Panama Papers refers to a huge cache of leaked documents dating back four decades that are allegedly connected to Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Urdu papers and electronic media also debated if Sharif would also come out clean of the new probe.

Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Party called the top court's order as "victory" for entire party.

Sharif and his family have denied the accusations. Analysts and opposition politicians said the ruling was a blow to Sharif's credibility and the inquiry's findings could yet weaken the PM as he heads into a general election in 2018. This was echoed by Asif Ali Zardari, a former president.

"Imran Khan has clearly stated that we will accept the decision of the Supreme Court, but we believe that enough evidence has been presented to remove the prime minister and that a verdict should be reached that is based on the evidence", he said.

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