LAHORE – The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) gave an ultimatum to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign within a week or be ready to face a nationwide movement of lawyers for his ouster.
The move comes days after the Supreme Court announced the landmark Panama Papers case verdict, directing that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) be instituted to investigate the prime minister and his sons for alleged corruption.
Addressing a press conference, LHCBA President Zulfiqar Chaudhry, vice-president Rashid Lodhi, secretary Amir Saeed Rana and finance secretary Zaheer Butt presented their demand for the PM’s resignation.
“If the prime minister does not step down within a week, we will launch a nationwide movement which will be bigger than the lawyers’ movement for restoration of the deposed judges,” Chaudhry said.
“Throughout the world, public office holders implicated in the Panama [Papers] scandal have relinquished their posts, but the prime minister is adamant to stay in power,” he complained, emphasising that the bar association’s demand for PM’s resignation was legitimate and fair.
“How can officers under the PM conduct a fair investigation into the PM’s alleged corruption?” asked Chaudhry.
Rashid Lodhi, vice president of the bar association said: “This is the first time such a high-profile case of corruption went up to the Supreme Court and some pertinent questions were raised by the court regarding the PM’s money-trail. These questions can not be put ignored.”
He said the apex court has rejected the prime minister’s claims, and for that reason, Sharif has lost the moral authority to stay in power.