Saturday, 29 July 2017

Nawaz Sharif resigns after Panama Papers verdict, Pakistan set for more turmoil

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Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over long-running corruption allegations against him and his family, a move that saw Sharif tender his resignation—triggering political turmoil and putting a question mark over Pakistan’s commitment to democracy.

The court also disqualified finance minister Ishaq Dar and asked the national anti-corruption bureau to launch a further probe into the allegations against Sharif, which stem from the Panama Papers leak last year linking his family to lucrative offshore businesses. Sharif, 67, has always denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the investigation as biased and inaccurate.

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Among possible allies to replace Sharif in the short term are members of his outgoing cabinet including Defence Minister Asif Khawaja, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, and Petroleum Minister Shahid Abbasi.

Nawaz Sharif’s brother, Punjab province chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, is likely to be named the next prime minister.

Chairing a meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party as its president, Nawaz Sharif recommended his brother’s name as his replacement, the sources said.

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