The Latest: Pakistan’s Imran Khan hails PM disqualification
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Latest on developments in Pakistan (all times local):
Pakistan’s cricket legend-turned-opposition leader Imran Khan has praised the country’s judiciary for disqualifying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office.
Khan says he believes the development on Friday will help eliminate corruption in this Islamic nation.
The former cricketer told a news conference that Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court was a “good omen” for Pakistan.
He says all who looted the nation’s wealth should face a similar court action.
Khan asked his party supporters and other countrymen to make their way to the capital, Islamabad, on Sunday to celebrate the opposition’s victory in a “battle against corrupt elements.”
He said he would announce his future course of action at Sunday’s grand rally in Islamabad.
Pakistan’s ruling party has asked its supporters to remain peaceful despite what it describes as “unjustified disqualification” of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the country’s Supreme Court.
Khawaja Saad Rafique, a leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, says it’s unfortunate that no elected prime minister in the country’s history has been allowed to complete his full term. He says Sharif will remain in people’s hearts.
Rafique pledged their party will emerge as a more powerful political force in the next parliamentary elections.
Zafar Ullah, another leader from Sharif’s party, says the allegations against the prime minister were baseless.
Several other leaders from the ruling party praised Sharif at the joint press conference but have yet to announce his successor.
A spokesman for Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the premier has stepped down despite having reservations about the court order that disqualified him from serving.
In a brief statement, Sharif’s office said Sharif 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.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court in a unanimous decision has asked the country’s anti-corruption body to file corruption charges against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his two sons and daughter for concealing their assets.
The request to the National Accountability Bureau comes after a five-judge panel ruled Sharif “disqualified” to continue as prime minister and removing him from parliament.
Sharif may not appeal the court’s rulings. There was no immediate comment from Sharif’s office.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from serving because of allegations of corruption.
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.
Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz at the time acknowledged owning offshore companies but insisted they used legal money to set up businesses abroad.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court is set to announce its much-awaited decision on the political fate of beleaguered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after weighing whether adequate evidence existed to dismiss him from office on allegations of corruption against his family.
Fawad Chaudhry, a lawyer for petitioner Imran Khan, said Friday they will accept any decision by the court.
Sharif has been under pressure to resign since 2016 when leaked documents from a Panama-based law firm disclosed his family’s offshore accounts. 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.
Under Pakistani law, the Supreme Court has the authority to dismiss the prime minister.