Pakistan awaits Supreme Court ruling that could disqualify PM

The Supreme Court launched an investigation into the Sharif family's offshore wealth a year ago after opposition parties threatened to launch street protests.

The government insists the wealth was acquired legally through family businesses in Pakistan and the Gulf.

Pakistan's Supreme Court is due to issue a verdict on corruption allegations against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif based on the "Panama Papers" leaks that could see him disqualified from office.

Global desk - Pakistan's Supreme Court is to issue its ruling on corruption claims which could determine the political fate of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The final verdict is split 3-2 among the bench, DawnNews reported, with two dissenting notes in the judgement by Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar.

"A thorough investigation is required", Justice Asif Saeed Khosa told the court, announcing the decision.

In 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) leaked 11.5 million documents relating to more than 200,000 offshore entities around the world, from the law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Naeem ul Haque, a spokesman for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said he expected a verdict against Sharif, but he made clear the opposition would not launch a new street movement if they were disappointed.

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Opposition politicians, including Imran Khan, of the PTI party, allege the prime minister and his family illegally profited from his position.

FILE - In this December 21, 2016 file photo, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, inspects Bosnian Army honor guard during the visit to Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.

Years later on April 26, 2012 Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was convicted for disobeying an order by court to write letter to Swiss government to reopen a corruption case against Asif Ali Zardari.

As soon Nawaj got the breather, his daughter Mariam Nawaz Sharif took to Twitter to express her delight.

The controversy is the latest to hit Sharif, an industrialist serving his third term as prime minister after the first two were interrupted by interventions from the country's powerful military.

Pakistan's stock market rose almost 250 points on Thursday, after having closed up 1.6 percent the previous day, showing investors are confident the court will not rule Sharif ineligible to be prime minister.

The sharply worded, 540-page ruling fell short of the bombshell Sharif's opponents had hoped for, allowing him to remain in office while his party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, competes in general elections next year.

Addressing the media after the verdict, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said: "Every party including Imran Khan, Sirajul Haq should now respect the SC verdict".

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