How foreign media reported Panama case verdict

More than a year after the Panama papers were leaked to the public, Pakistan’s apex court on Thursday delivered its verdict on the case as it ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe how the money of the prime minister’s family was transferred to Qatar.

The court eventually ruled that there was not enough evidence to send the premier packing at once, however, it directed that a JIT be formed to investigate how his wealth traveled to Qatar.

The prime minister and his party breathed a collective sigh of relief, as the fear of an ‘extreme verdict’ — the premier’s ouster — dissolved and gave way to celebrations.

Here is a glimpse of the coverage that Pakistan’s Panama case received in the foreign press.

A screenshot of The Hindu's homepage.
A screenshot of The Hindu’s homepage.

The Hindu summed up the story in a neat 131 words, leading the report by informing its readers about the formation of the JIT.

“The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday ordered the formation of a joint investigation team to probe corruption allegations against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family made last year after the leakage of the ‘Panama Papers’.

However, a plea filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, founded by former cricketer Imran Khan, to disqualify Mr. Sharif as the Prime Minister was rejected in a three-two split verdict.”

A Screenshot from China Daily's 'Asia' page.
A Screenshot from China Daily’s ‘Asia’ page.

In mere 85 words, China Daily reported on the Panama verdict.

“Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered further investigations into corruption allegations levelled by the opposition against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying there was insufficient evidence to order his removal from office.”

A screenshot from BBC's website.
A screenshot from BBC’s website.

The BBC’s monitoring team compiled a detailed report on the matter, making sure their readers were up to date with the background on the case.

It neatly summed up today’s verdict in two paragraphs.

“Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ruled there is insufficient evidence of corruption to remove Nawaz Sharif from the role of prime minister.

It instead ordered a further investigation into money transfers.”

India Today

A screenshot from India Today's website.
A screenshot from India Today’s website.

“Nawaz Sharif narrowly escapes jinxed April’s fate, which has doomed many Pakistani politicians,” read the headlines of India Today’s news article on the Panama case verdict.

“April’s jinxed fate”? Read on.

It reminded its readers; “Prime Minister Sharif’s government was sacked by then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan for alleged corruption in April, 1993.”

Elaborating on its astute observation, the article went on to remind readers about all those times in Pakistan’s political history, where significant events took place in the month of April.

“The worst April in history of the country was April 4,1979 when former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged in Rawalpindi for criminal conspiracy to kill a leading politician.

The hanging followed a dubious court proceeding allegedly orchestrated at the behest of military dictator Ziaul Haq who had overthrown Bhutto’s government in 1978.

Years later on April 26, 2012 Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was convicted for disobeying an order by court to write letter to Swiss government to reopen a corruption case against Asif Ali Zardari.

Gilani stepped down on the same day.”

Time Magazine

A screenshot from Time Magazine's website.
A screenshot from Time Magazine’s website.

“Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif narrowly survived being disqualified from office Thursday, after the country’s top court ruled that there was insufficient evidence of corruption to eject him from his post.

Instead, the Supreme Court in the Pakistani capital Islamabad ordered a new investigation into the allegations stemming from the so-called Panama Papers—secret documents leaked from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2016 that detailed the offshore financial dealings of leading political and business figures from the around the globe.”

Washington Post

Pakistan prime minister narrowly avoids ouster in court ruling over corruption claims

A screenshot of the Washington Post article.

The Washington Post was one of the few major US publications to cover the verdict. After informing its readers about updates from the hearing, it went on to speculate over PML-N’s chances at the next general elections. Michael Kugelman weighed in with his expert views.

“…it left the ailing, 67-year-old prime minister politically diminished, and the Muslim League vulnerable at the polls. With the odor of alleged shoddy financial practices in the air, Sharif’s party becomes a perfect target for a hodgepodge of electoral opponents — from secular activists to religious groups — who have sought to portray Sharif and the dynastic political elite as corrupt and insular.

“Nawaz Sharif isn’t off the hook yet, but given how concerned the government was about Sharif getting disqualified, it could have been much worse,” said Michael Kugelman, a Pakistan expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. “The government received a fairly hard slap on the wrist, but ultimately it survived.”

Kugelman and other analysts also called the ruling a victory for Pakistan’s troubled democracy, with a civilian prime minister being subjected to a long legal process and a public verdict that all sides agreed to accept.”

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