July 13, 2017
JIT report proves more damaging than expected: world media
NEW YORK: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report proved more damaging than expected as Pakistan’s key stock index slumped the most in more than eight years after a probe set up to investigate Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s wealth said it found evidence of possible corruption, plunging the country deeper into political crisis, reported the international media.
It was reported that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation might push the country into political uncertainty.The Supreme Court is due to review findings that Sharif was unable to account for the disparity between his wealth and known sources of income, and will convene a hearing on July 17. If the court accepts the charges, it may lead to Sharif’s resignation or removal from power under the Constitution.
“There exists a significant disparity between the wealth declared” and the means through which he generated income, according to a report by investigators appointed by the Supreme Court in April. The investigators submitted their report to a panel of justices, who ordered the report be made public on Monday.
If an accused cannot account for his sources of income, “the court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that the person is guilty of the offence of corruption,” the report reads.Pakistan’s benchmark KSE100 Index declined 4.7 percent at close in Karachi, the most since February, 2009 and the biggest loser among stocks globally. The report turned out to be more damaging than expected and investors will remain confused amid the biggest political ruction since the government took office in 2013, said Faisal Bilwani, head of equities at Elixir Securities Pakistan.
The Prime Minister’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, rejected the report in tweet: “Every contradiction will not only be contested but decimated” in the Supreme Court, she wrote. “Not a single penny of public exchequer involved.”
Sharif will challenge the investigators’ findings in court, Minister for Planning and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal, said.The findings “will have a huge impact on Pakistani politics as it will become a major election issue,” political and security analyst Zahid Hussain said in Islamabad. “The major problem will be political uncertainty. Nawaz Sharif will be damaged goods.”
Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf demanded Sharif to resign over the findings.Removal of the prime minister from power could impede an economy which is growing its fastest in a decade. Sharif, who has pledged to step down if found guilty of graft by the court, has denied any wrongdoing.
Pakistan’s economy grew 5.3 percent in 2016, it’s highest in 10 years, after Sharif averted a balance-of-payment crisis in 2013 with help from an International Monetary Fund loan and Chinese infrastructure and energy financing. The country’s benchmark stock index has plunged about 10 percent since it was included in the MSCI Inc.’s emerging markets index in June.
“The PM being investigated for graft and normally that’s a good investment opportunity when the markets fall due to political noise,” said Carsten Hesse, a London-based emerging-market equity strategist at Berenberg Bank, which doesn’t cover Pakistan. “That’s long term very positive as it will help the country to fight corruption and the next leader might not accept graft.”