Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif removed from post by Supreme Court – Karachi Stock Exchange crashes

Stocks crashed in Pakistan in afternoon trade on Friday amid a political turmoil after the country’s Supreme Court disqualified three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on charges of corruption in the Panamagate case.

The KSE100 index of the Karachi Stock Exchange slipped over 700 points, or 1.56 per cent, to 45,190 within minutes of the court verdict. On a year-to-date basis, the index is down over 5.50 per cent till date.

Sharif and his family were accused of involvement in corruption in the Panamagate case.

“He is no more eligible to be an honest member of the parliament, and he ceases to be holding the office of prime minister,” Judge Ejaz Afzal Khan said in court.

Pakistan’s KSE index has soared around 400 per cent since 2009, and 40 per cent in previous calendar year.

The KSE100 Index had tanked nearly 1,200 points in opening trade on Friday as the nation got ready for what was expected to be an adverse outcome. The equity benchmark managed to recover to around the 45,000 mark just before the court verdict only to plunge soon after. Financial markets in Pakistan have been in turmoil over many controversies in recent times.

The financial markets in Pakistan have been embroiled in many controversies in recent times.

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s rupee retreated 3.1 per cent to 108.1 against the dollar, the lowest level since December 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The currency plunged the most in nine years, after the central bank was said to have devalued the currency as South Asia’s second largest economy showed signs of stress ahead of elections next year.

Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar blamed miscommunication by ‘individuals’ and institutions for the rupee’s biggest tumble in nine years and said a new central bank governor may be appointed soon, Bloomberg reported.

What is Panamagate?

Former cricketer and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party Imran Khan brought the issue to the court alleging money laundering, corruption, and contradictory statements by Nawaz Sharif, after the Panama Papers leak uncovered links between Sharif’s family and eight offshore companies.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan heard the case between November 1, 2016 and February 23, 2017. On Friday, a five-member bench of the Pakistan Supreme Court pronounced the verdict disqualifying Sharif as Prime Minister.

It is expected that the Election Commission of Pakistan will soon de-notify the prime minister in accordance with the court order, paving way for a new leader to take charge. This is the third time Sharif has failed to complete his term as Prime Minister.

Earlier, the Panama Papers were made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on April 3, 2016. The documents, sourced from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, included details of eight offshore companies with links to the family of Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shehbaz Sharif.

By: ET

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