Pakistan’s Supreme Court has issued a verdict disqualifying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office over corruption.
Sharif “stands disqualified,” the court said in its highly anticipated ruling in the case on Friday, Press TV reported.
Sharif will now have to resign.
The Pakistani prime minister and his family had faced allegation of financial corruption, and Ejaz Afzal Khan, who heads the Supreme Court panel in the case, had declared the end of the hearings last week.
The Supreme Court had ordered an investigation team in April to review evidence and a disqualification verdict was expected.
The allegations stemmed from revelation in the so-called Panama Papers that purported the Sharif family had been involved in offshore money laundering.
A Supreme Court-appointed investigatory panel had said previously that the family wealth was way beyond their means. It had further accused Sharif’s children, including presumed heir Maryam, of signing forged documents to hide ownership of posh London flats.
Sharif had denied any wrongdoing and slammed an earlier 254-page report by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) as biased and slanderous.
The ruling will be welcomed by the opposition, which had long argued for Prime Minister Sharif’s disqualification over the corruption allegations.
Opposition leader Imran Khan had previously said Sharif had to be imprisoned.
“The prime minister’s final destination is Adiala jail. Now I am not demanding his resignation, but imprisonment,” Imran Khan said earlier.
The Sharif family’s finances came under the spotlight last year after the so-called Panama Papers revealed the offshore dealings of many of the world’s rich and powerful people.
The names of three of Sharif’s four children, daughter Maryam and sons Hasan and Hussein, were there.
In April, Pakistan’s Supreme Court announced it had not received enough proof to disqualify Sharif from office and ordered an investigatory panel to gather and review the evidence.
The investigators earlier this month concluded that there had been “significant disparity” between the Sharif family’s declared wealth and their known sources of income.
The damning report was submitted to the Supreme Court.
The Sharif family has consistently denied the allegations against them and rejected the JIT report, dismissed by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Party as “trash.”