Nawaz Sharif formally steps down as Pakistan’s PM

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has stepped down despite having reservations about the court order that disqualified him from serving, according to the PM’s official spokesperson.

In a brief statement on Friday, Sharif’s office said he relinquished his charge as prime minister after learning that the Supreme Court disqualified him because of corruption allegations.

The statement claims that justice has not been done with Sharif, but the prime minister stepped down to show his respect for the judiciary and rule of law.

Friday’s decision by a five-judge panel of the court was not surprising, as many legal experts and opposition leaders were expecting punitive measures against Sharif and his family.

It is not the first time the judiciary has ordered dismissal of the elected prime minister; in 2012, the court convicted the then-Premier Yusuf Raza Gilani in a contempt case, forcing him to step down.

The current case against Sharif and his family dates back to 2016, when documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm indicated that Sharif’s sons owned several offshore companies.

In April, the court, acting on petitions from the opposition, set up a six-member team to probe the allegations. The investigation concluded a “significant disparity” existed between Sharif family’s declared wealth and its known sources of income.

Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz acknowledged owning offshore companies but insisted they used legal money to set up businesses abroad.

Under Pakistani law, the Supreme Court has the authority to dismiss the prime minister.


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