Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to file a legal challenge in the Supreme Court against a damning report by the Joint Investigation Team, which accused him and his family of concealing assets from tax authorities.
The Court is expected to decide the fate of the Prime Minister on July 17. The JIT report, submitted in the apex court on Monday, has prompted huge uproar in the country with Opposition parties and media calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation. The JIT has recommended the anti-corruption body, National Accountability Bureau, to file a corruption reference.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Sharif consulted his legal and political aides and decided to challenge the JIT report. “It has been decided to file an appeal in the Supreme Court tomorrow to challenge the JIT findings. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believes that the report is conjecture and based on assumptions,” a close aide of the ruling PML(N) told The Hindu .
The team that probed offshore assets of Sharif family said in its report that Maryam Nawaz claimed herself to be "trustee not the owner" of Avenfield properties in London, which linked her to Minerva Services and Samba Financial, Geo News reported.
The JIT said that her claim turned out to be completely wrong and it was proven that she owned the properties managed by Minerva Services. The JIT concluded that Sharif's daughter was the real and ultimate beneficial owner of the Avenfield apartments.
It said that the font used in documents submitted by Maryam Nawaz suggested that the 2006 declarations were fake and called it a federal crime, said a report in the Express Tribune. Maryam Nawaz was also accused of accumulating "assets disproportionate and beyond means of known sources of income", Dawn reported.
The JIT's report said: "She had been receiving heavy gifts from Rs 73.5 million to Rs 830.73 million within period of 2009-2016." It said that the "accumulation of Maryam's assets shows a drastic hike in the early 1990s with no declared source of income".
Soon after the "font" portion of JIT report went viral, Twitterati targetted Maryam Nawaz in a hilarious manner.
"I already thought Calibri was the greatest font ever but I never imagined it would achieve legend status," one Twitter user said.
"Calibri font invented by our daughter Maryam Nawaz in Arfa Kareem tower Lahore: Shahbaz Sharif," wrote another user.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan, who heads the Opposition party Tehreek-e-Insaf, reiterated his demand for the resignation of the Prime Minister, saying he has lost moral authority to continue. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should step down immediately and face the charges. The JIT report is very clear. It has established that the ruling family has proved to be corrupt. There is no way the Prime Minister can hold on to his post,” he told reporters in Islamabad.
Media houses also called for the Prime Minister to step down. Dawn in its editorial wrote that it does appear that the JIT has made a number of damaging observations about the legitimacy of the wealth of Prime Minister Sharif and his children.
“The PML-N must be prepared to do the right thing for the sake of democracy. Prime Minister Sharif’s supporters may rightly argue that the PML-N’s majority in parliament is because of Mr Sharif, but the constitutional position is clear: the PML-N government can exist without Mr Sharif,” the paper said.