Panama Papers case

Imran Khan Niazi v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Emblem of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.svg
Court Supreme Court of Pakistan
Full case name Imran Khan Niazi v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Decided July 28, 2017; 21 days ago (2017-07-28)
Citation(s) Constitution. Petition. No. 29 and 30 of 2016 and 03 of 2017

Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif disqualified from holding office as The Prime Minister and as Member of National Assembly.

National Accountability Bureau ordered to initiate legal proceedings against the Respondent and his family according to Anti-Corruption Laws.
Court membership
Judges sitting Justices
Asif Saeed Khan Khosa
Ejaz Afzal Khan
Gulzar Ahmed
Sh. Azmat Saeed
Case opinions
Decision by 5–0
Laws applied

Article 62(1)(f) of Pakistan Constitution Section 12(2)(f), 19(f) of The Representation of People Act, 1976

Section 99(1)(f) of Ropa Act

The Panama Papers case (officially titled Imran Khan Niazi v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif) or the Panamagate case was a legal case before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, heard between 1 November 2016 and 23 February 2017. The case was brought to court by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan alleging money laundering, corruption, and contradictory statements by Nawaz Sharif, the incumbent Prime Minister of Pakistan, after the Panama Papers leak uncovered links between Sharif's family and eight offshore companies. [1] [2] [3]

The Court reserved its judgment on 23 February 2017. [4] The case has been described as the most publicized in Pakistan's history, as well as a "defining moment" for the country. [5] [6] On 20 April 2017, the court announced the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the Sharif family's involvement in corruption as stated in the Panama leaks. [7]

On 28 July 2017 the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Sharif from holding public office in a unanimous verdict. [8]


Panama Papers leak case

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists made 11.5 million secret documents, to be known as the Panama Papers, available to the public on 3 April 2016. [9] The documents, sourced from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, included details of eight offshore companies with links to the family of Nawaz Sharif, the incumbent Prime Minister of Pakistan, and his brother Shehbaz Sharif, the incumbent Chief Minister of Punjab. [10] According to the ICIJ, Sharif's children Maryam Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz “were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several companies”. [11] Mossack Fonseca records tied the children to four offshore companies, Nescoll Limited, Nielson Holdings Limited, Coomber Group Inc., and Hangon Property Holdings Limited. [12] The companies acquired luxury real estate in London from 2006 to 2007. The real estate was collateral for loans of up to $13.8 million according to the Panama Papers. [13]

Failure to constitute judicial commission

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Facing growing criticism, Sharif announced the formation of a judicial commission under a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, in a nationwide address on 5 April 2016. However, no commission was constituted after the consecutive refusals of former Justices Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Nasir-ul-Mulk, Amir-ul-Mulk Mengal, Sahir Ali, and Tanvir Ahmad Khan. [14] Despite this, the federal government remained committed to forming a commission, negotiating its terms of reference with opposition parties Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. In a second statewide address on 22 April 2016, Sharif announced he would resign if proven guilty. [15] The latter effort failed when Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali, while citing open-ended terms of reference and limited scope of the law in field, declined to form "a toothless commission, which will serve no useful purpose." [16]

Prime Minister's speech

In a televised address to the National Assembly of Pakistan on 16 May 2016, Sharif suggested forming a joint committee to draft the terms of reference for establishing a judicial commission. He said he was not afraid of accountability, while criticizing opposition figures, "Today, people living in bungalows and commuting in helicopters are accusing me of misconduct. Can they explain before the nation as to how they earned all this money and how much tax they paid?" [17] During his speech, Sharif claimed he would clear the air about the London flats, but did not return to the subject. [17] Instead he reiterated that the flats had been purchased with the money earned from the sale of Jeddah Steel Mills, which belonged to his father. Later, Sharif's omission of any reference to his family's business connections with the Qatari royal family during his 16 May speech invited allegations of contradictory statements. [18]

Opposition response

Following Sharif's speech, PTI chairman Imran Khan filed a petition through counsel Naeem Bokhari with the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 29 August 2016, seeking Sharif's disqualification as Prime Minister and as a Member of the National Assembly. Other political leaders including Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of Awami Muslim League, and Siraj-ul-Haq of Jamat-e-Islami, expressed support for the petition as well. The petition also moved against Sharif's children, son-in-law Muhammad Safdar, and in-law and incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. PTI workers also staged a sit-in outside Sharif's private residence at Raiwind near Lahore on 30 September 2016. Khan subsequently called on supporters to "lock-down" Islamabad until Nawaz Sharif "resigned or presented himself for accountability". [19]