Pakistan's top court rules prime minister can stay in power

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"The Supreme Court's verdict is an interim judgment - the judges have sought more investigations (within the next two months or so) to be conducted by a specially constituted committee into the trail of money used in buying flats owned by Nawaz Sharif's family".

Radio Pakistan has quoted Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif as saying that the ruling PML-N party will accept court verdict in Panama Papers case.

The five-judge bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan issued the landmark judgement 57 days after concluding the hearing.

The court in Islamabad launched a probe previous year into Sharif's family's offshore wealth after his children were linked to accounts in the so-called Panama Papers leaks in 2015.

The court decision on Thursday is the outcome of petitions from opposition lawmakers dating back to documents leaked in 2016 from a Panama-based law firm that indicated Sharif's sons owned several offshore companies. "It will be implemented in all its spirit", Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said immediately after the verdict.

But the five-member bench could also direct law enforcement agencies to carry out more detailed investigations into the allegations against Sharif, verbally censure him or his children, or clear him entirely.

Lawyers opposing Sharif say the onus is on him to prove that his family did not engage in money laundering.

Prime Minister and his sons - Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz - will appear before the investigation commission.

The worst April in history of the country was April 4, 1979 when former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged for criminal conspiracy to kill a leading politician.

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"Nawaz Sharif will be the prime minister as we go into the 2018 elections", Rafiq said.

Sharif told parliament a year ago that his family wealth was acquired legally in the decades before he entered politics and that no money was siphoned off-shore.

The petitioners had claimed that the prime minister lied about the investments made by his children in offshore companies, which led to the acquisition of four apartments in Londons upscale Park Lane neighbourhood.

It will submit fortnightly reports to the Supreme Court.

"I think it is evident now to the nation that Nawaz's real face is not sharif", Zardari said.

"It needs to be investigated how the money was transferred to Qatar", the Thursday 540-page verdict read.

Opposition leader Khan first called for an investigation into Sharif, whom his party has accused of corruption.

If the court finds Sharif's family evaded paying taxes, she said he should resign as he will no longer have "moral authority to remain in power".