Pakistan Supreme Court hears Panama leaks case
PAKISTAN’S Supreme Court has heard the defence’s arguments in the Panama Papers case involving members of the prime minister’s family, while marches are staged by hundreds of people across Islamabad demanding Nawaz Sharif’s resignation.
The court yesterday directed all the respondents to submit their comments to form a commission to investigate the Panama Papers leaks before adjourning the hearings, which will resume tomorrow, according to local media reports.
A petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has levelled corruption allegations at Sharif and his family and demanded an investigation.
Sheikh Rasheed, of the PTI-allied Awami Muslim League, has demanded that a commission be formed to follow up the matter.
Another petition was filed by the Jamaat-e-Islami demanding an investigation into all Pakistani companies named in the Panama Papers.
The hearing coincides with days of anti-government protests led by the opposition politician Imran Khan. He called for a shutdown of Islamabad today, to pressure Nawaz Sharif to resign, but reports yesterday suggested that he had backed down.
Instead of the protest, Khan said that he would hold a “celebratory” rally, following a decision by the Supreme Court to pursue a case linked to Sharif.
“On the Supreme Court’s advice, we have decided that tomorrow we will thank God and celebrate a day of thanks at [Islamabad’s] parade ground,” Khan told media.
Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said scuffles resumed between Imran Khan supporters and police yesterday, however the government managed to stop the protesters marching towards the city by blocking roads with containers and by using tear gas.
“The court, which also took up the hearing of Panama data leaks that implicate [Sharif] and his family, has asked both sides to come to an agreement to repose confidence in the court, after which there is a likelihood of a judicial commission being formed,” he said. “However, we are not sure if that would be enough to stop Imran Khan’s march aiming at locking down Islamabad.” — Al Jazeera