Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif Forced to Resign After Panama Papers Verdict

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif Forced to Resign After Panama Papers Verdict

Nawaz Sharif has resigned as prime minister of Pakistan following a decision by the country's Supreme Court to disqualify him from office.

The ruling came after a probe into his family's wealth following the 2015 Panama Papers dump linking Mr Sharif's children to offshore companies.

Mr Sharif has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the case.

The five judges reached a unanimous verdict in the Islamabad court, which was filled to capacity.

"Following the verdict, Nawaz Sharif has resigned from his responsibilities as prime minister," a spokesman for Mr Sharif's office said in a statement. However, it said he had "serious reservations" about the judicial process.

There was heightened security in the capital, with tens of thousands of troops and police deployed.

One of the judges, Ejaz Afzal Khan, said that Mr Sharif was no longer "eligible to be an honest member of the parliament".

Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan earlier advised Mr Sharif to accept Friday's verdict.

The court has recommended anti-corruption cases against several individuals, including Mr Sharif, his daughter Maryam and her husband Safdar, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and others.

What did the Panama Papers reveal?
The leaks in April 2016 revealed that three of Mr Sharif's children owned offshore companies and assets not shown on his family's wealth statement.
The companies were allegedly used to channel funds to acquire foreign assets, including some apartments along Park Lane in London's Mayfair area.
Despite documents from the Panama Papers suggesting that the beneficial owner of the luxury central London flats was Mr Sharif's daughter Maryam, she later claimed that she was only a trustee - and that it was her brother who was the beneficial owner.
To prove her point, Maryam Nawaz produced a trust deed signed by both her and her brother dated February 2006.
But a British forensic expert later said the document was "fake" or had been "falsified" because it was typed in the Calibri font, which was not commercially available until 2007.
The insinuation that the offshore companies were meant to hide or launder ill-gotten wealth or to avoid taxes called Mr Sharif's credentials into question.

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