Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was yesterday given a reprieve when the Pakistani Supreme Court ordered he be investigated for corruption, but ruled there was not yet sufficient evidence to oust him from power.
Sharif and his children are accused of graft in a case which has captivated Pakistan and threatened to topple the prime minister after the “Panama Papers” leak last year linked the family to offshore businesses.
The Supreme Court issued a split ruling calling for a joint investigation team of anti-corruption officials along with the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence to probe the claims and issue a report within 60 days.
“A thorough investigation is required,” Justice Asif Saeed Khosa told the court, presenting the 540-page written judgement which opens with the epigraph that launches Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel The Godfather: “Behind every great fortune there is a crime.”
Two of the five judges went further than the ruling, branding Sharif “dishonest” and saying he should be disqualified, but they were outnumbered.
The court has disqualified leaders before, holding then-Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in contempt in 2012 for refusing to reopen corruption investigations into then-Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari, resulting in his disqualification.
Government supporters could be seen celebrating the judgement outside the court in Islamabad, where about 1,500 police commandos and riot forces had been deployed ahead of the highly anticipated decision.
“We will cooperate fully with the investigation and seek to clear whatever doubts are left,” Pakistani Minister of Defense Khawaja Asif said.
Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party has spearheaded the push against Sharif, called on the prime minister to resign until the investigation is completed.
“Whatever explanations they gave inside the Supreme Court about their source of income have been exposed as lies,” Khan told reporters in the wake of the judgement.
The continuing controversy could trouble Sharif’s governing party ahead of general elections that must be held by the end of next year, and as security and the economy improve in the militancy-plagued nation.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDES? Some experts say the NHI system does not do enough to educate the public, or pay doctors to talk to patients, about healthy lifestyles While the life expectancy of Taiwanese newborns in 2018 reached 80.69 years, the number of years people spent in poor health hit a record high at 8.41 years, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed on Saturday. Healthy life expectancy is calculated by a person’s life expectancy minus the time they spend in ill health, such as the loss of mobility, disabilities and chronic disease, based on medical records and calculations about the years they live with disabilities. The number of years that Taiwanese spend in poor health is increasing slowly, but steadily, rising by 0.46 years, or five-and-a-half months, between 2012
UPTICK IN NUMBERS: The Taipei deputy mayor said the city has services to assist new immigrants, but has established an office specifically to help those from Hong Kong The Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office today officially opens, where it is to provide humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, after Beijing yesterday passed a controversial national security law for the territory. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed dismay over China’s passage of the law, saying that Beijing has broken its pledge to allow Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years following its handover from the UK. “I feel extremely disappointed [about the law’s passage], which means China did not keep its promise to Hong Kong,” Tsai said in Taipei. Beijing’s “broken promise” also
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister