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  World   South Asia  11 Jul 2017  Pakistan's governing party reject JIT corruption report accusing Sharif

Pakistan's governing party reject JIT corruption report accusing Sharif

Published : Jul 11, 2017, 5:19 pm IST
Updated : Jul 11, 2017, 5:19 pm IST

Sharif's ruling PML-N party insists the wealth was acquired legally, through family businesses in Pakistan and the Gulf.

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. (Photo: AP)
 Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. (Photo: AP)

Islamabad: Pakistan's governing party has rejected as "trash" a corruption report accusing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of living beyond his means, the latest in long-running allegations which sparked fresh calls on Tuesday for him to resign.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of civilian and military investigators issued its report Monday claiming there was a "significant disparity" in the Sharif family's income and lifestyle.

But the Sharifs and their allies were defiant, with his ruling PML-N party dismissing the report as "trash" in a statement, and his daughter and presumptive political heir Maryam also named in the report vowing on Twitter that the allegations would be "decimated" in court. 

It was not immediately clear what action the Supreme Court would take over the report, whose recommendations are not legally binding. The court is scheduled to take up the case again on Monday. 

The controversy erupted last year with the publication of 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca documenting the offshore dealings of many of the world's rich and powerful. Three of Sharif's four children Maryam and his sons Hasan and Hussein were implicated in the papers.

In April the Supreme Court said there was insufficient evidence to oust Sharif from power, but ordered the formation of the JIT to probe the claims.

At the heart of the case is the legitimacy of the funds used by the Sharif family to purchase several high-end London properties via offshore companies. Sharif's ruling PML-N party insists the wealth was acquired legally, through family businesses in Pakistan and the Gulf.

"Failure on the part of all respondents to produce the requisite information confirming 'known sources of income' is prima facie tantamount to not being able to justify assets and the means of income," the JIT report stated.

It also accused family members of submitting "falsified/tampered" documents, and made a new allegation against the prime minister, claiming he was the chairman of a secret offshore company in the United Arab Emirates. 

The release of the report spurred fresh calls by oppposition leaders and on social media for Sharif to step down. The charge was led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party has spearheaded the push against Sharif.

Khan, who said Sharif has lost "moral authority", has also demanded the Supreme Court put the prime minister on the Exit Control List (ECL), claiming he is a security risk.

The allegations are a blow to Sharif's credibility ahead of general elections due to be held by next year, and as the civilian government appears to have reached an uneasy detente with the military, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its existence.

Bribery and other forms of graft are endemic in Pakistan, with the country coming in 116th place out of 176 countries ranked according to corruption by Transparency International in 2017.

Tags: nawaz sharif, joint investigation team, corruption charges, supreme court
Location: Pakistan, Islamabad, Islamabad