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Pakistani media on Friday gave a mixed reaction to the Supreme Court’s verdict on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s high-profile graft case with some calling it just a momentary relief while others contemplating its moral impact on the embattled premier. Sharif, 67, on Thursday got a temporary breather from the Supreme Court which said there was “insufficient evidence” to remove him from office but ordered setting up of a joint team to investigate the graft allegations against his family.
Dawn reported that it was neither a clean-chit nor a disqualification for Sharif. “The final verdict was split 3-2 among the five-judge bench, with two dissenting notes from Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed,” it reported.
The Express Tribune focused on the dissenting note of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa who headed the panel and said that prime minister was not “honest” and hence should be disqualified.
The News also focused on the remarks of Khosa who said Sharif should go home. “Although, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa turned out to be a minority voice in the five-member bench on the Panama Papers, the arguments he advanced for taking on the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will continue to resonate louder than the majority decision,” it reported.
The Nation reported that the main outcome of the judgement was that Sharif stayed on. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was given a reprieve when the Supreme Court ruled there was insufficient evidence to order his removal from office over corruption allegations, but it ordered further investigations,” it reported.
Urdu papers and electronic media also debated if Sharif would also come out clean of the new probe. Evening talk shows were mostly partisan as the decision and its moral impact were discussed. Those opposing Sharif in the debate asked him to step down on moral grounds.
Meanwhile, local channels are saying that Sharif’s daughter Maryam who was cleared by the Supreme Court in the graft case yesterday is being seen as his successor. Maryam, Sharif’s eldest daughter, is apparently being groomed by her father for the big role and she is often portrayed as his heir apparently due to the fact that his two sons – Hasan and Hussain – live abroad and are more interested in business than politics, local media said.