Panama Papers: Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif awaits ruling

"The Supreme Court has decided... the same thing that Nawaz Sharif himself had decided six months ago, when he ordered the formation of a commission to investigate [the allegations]", said Khwaja Asif, a senior leader of Sharif's ruling PML-N party, following the announcement.

The high court launched an investigation into the offshore wealth of Sharif's family late past year after The Panama Papers linked them to offshore businesses.

There are legitimate ways of using tax havens and offshore companies, although these entities are often used to hide the true owners of assets or avoid paying tax on the money. The leak showed at least 8 offshore holding companies had links with Nawaz Sharif's family members.

The Supreme Court in Pakistan will deliver its verdict on Thursday in the Panama Papers leaks case involving the country's Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif and his family, media reports said.

However, opponents of the prime minster point out that two out of the five judges did recommend Nawaz Sharif should be disqualified, and the other three all felt further investigation was needed.

It erupted with the publication of 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca a year ago which documented the offshore dealings of numerous world's rich and powerful.

Sharif 's supporters hailed the decisions as a victory of justice.

Khan's party has indicated that it would not launch new street protests if it was disappointed by the judgement.

The case filed by various petitioners Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed sought disqualification of Prime Minister Sharif over his alleged misstatement in his address to the nation on April 5 and his speech before the National Assembly on May 16, 2016.

In January this year, a BBC report revealed that Sharif family had purchased properties in London's upscale Park Lane neighbourhood in the 1990s and there was no change in ownership since then.

The 540-page verdict had two dissenting notes by Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar, who said that Sharif should be disqualified. Included in those documents were letters showing that three of Sharif's children - Maryam, Hassan and Hussain - were listed as beneficiaries for three companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

"It will be implemented in all its spirit", Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said immediately after the verdict.

But the five-member bench could also potentially direct law enforcement agencies to carry out more detailed investigations into the allegations against Sharif, verbally censure him or his children, or clear him entirely.

  • Ernesto Newman