Pakistan Supreme Court ousts PM Nawaz Sharif over Panama Papers

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

‘He is disqualified as a member of the parliament so he has ceased to be holding the office of Prime Minister,’ Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan told the packed courtroom in Islamabad.

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 verdict was handed down unanimously by a five-member bench in the court.

“Following the verdict, Nawaz Sharif has resigned from his responsibilities as prime minister,” a spokesman for Mr. Sharif’s office said in a statement.

The court was filled to capacity on Friday, and there was heightened security in the capital, with tens of thousands of troops and police deployed.

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.

Mr. Sharif, who was serving as prime minister for a record third time, was less than a year away from becoming the first in Pakistani history to complete a full term in office.