The Supreme Court disqualified on Friday prime minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office over failure to disclose his ‘un-withdrawn receivables, constituting assets’ in his nomination papers filed ahead of the 2013 general elections.
Interestingly, his disqualification was not made on the basis of the corruption charges levelled by the PTI after the emergence of Panama Papers. The 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm, Mossak Fonesca, exposed how the affluent all over the world used shell companies and offshore tax havens to hide their wealth.
The disqualification was made on the basis of documents collected by the Joint Investigation Team, which was probing the Sharif family, through a Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) request. The documents showed that the former PM had been an employee of a Dubai-based firm, Capital FZE, and as chairman of its board on a salary.
Nawaz, however, was not the only leader to get axed.
Iceland’s embattled prime minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, became the first major casualty, stepping aside from his office amid mounting public outrage that his family had sheltered money offshore.
Spain’s industry minister, Jose Manuel Soria, was also found to have offshore investments. The scandal led to his resignation as a member of parliament and as minister of industry, energy and tourism.
Other people were exposed to scrutiny, including former British prime minister David Cameron, among other politicians.
At least 150 inquiries or investigations have been launched in 79 countries, with authorities examining many cases for possible tax evasion or money laundering, according to the Centre for Public Integrity, a US nonprofit group that until February hosted the now-independent ICIJ.