ISLAMABAD – The Pakistani Supreme Court ordered on Thursday the creation of a new commission comprising civilians and military personnel to probe the source of funds from companies associated with the family of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who were implicated in the massive Panama Papers scandal last year.
The five judges, who were in charge of the case, concluded there is insufficient evidence to disqualify Sharif from his position.
The investigations so far have not proven the source of the funds, Judge Asif Saeed Khosa said in the ruling.
While three judges backed the setting-up of the commission, the other two favored Sharif’s disqualification, Judge Saeed told a crowded room packed with around 300 people.
Sharif and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, will have to appear before the commission, which will be given two months to carry out the investigation and report its progress to the Supreme Court every two weeks, according to the 540-page ruling.
The commission is to be established within a week and will comprise members drawn from the country’s Federal Investigation Agency, Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence and the National Accountability Bureau.
After the decision was made public, Pakistan Muslim League – Sharif’s party – posted a picture on its Twitter account showing the prime minister smiling and hugging his brother Shahbaz, the chief minister of the country’s Punjab province.
In June last year, the Panama Papers leak that included 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonesca, revealed three of Sharif’s four children – Hussain, Maryam and Hassan – had created companies in the British Virgin Islands through which they controlled properties in London.
Sharif’s family, which has faced corruption charges in the past, has acknowledged the ownership of the firms and property in question, but has denied any irregularities.
The high-profile leak had led to several protests throughout the country by the Imran Khan-led opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.