In 2016, ICIJ leaked the Panama papers, which contained information about offshore lands owned by about 400 Pakistanis and other important people around the world. The leaked papers also included the names of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons. The inclusion of these names changed the political overview of the country forever.
Opposition parties started to capitalize on this point and build pressure on the government to either resign or investigate the matter. On the 24th of August 2016, JI Chief Siraj ul Haq filed a petition in the Supreme Court regarding the leaked papers without naming PM Sharif, but the SC dismissed his petition within 4 days of its filing, saying that it was a baseless appeal.
On October 20, 2016, the SC accepted petitions by Chairman PTI Imran Khan against Nawaz, Hassan, Hussain, and Maryam. On the 28th of October, the SC established a five-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa. After months of proceedings, the court announced that two of its members on the bench had decided that Nawaz Sharif was not ‘Sadiq and Amin’ any more and should be disqualified, while three others said that the matter should be further investigated.
A JIT was constituted with members from ISI, Military Intelligence (MI), FIA, NAB, SECP, and the State Bank. However, the members of the JIT were selected by the SC judges even though it was not their job. Prime Minister Nawaz’s Principal Secretary said that he asked the registrar of the Supreme Court if the SC directed him to nominate specific people in the JIT, to which the registrar answered that it was true and that Justice Khosa had told him to do so on the Chief Justice’s authority.
On the 10th of July 2017, the JIT submitted its 274-page report to the court, and on the 28th of July 2017, the SC disqualified the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, for allegedly not disclosing that he was employed in a Dubai-based firm and that he was receiving salary in his 2103 nomination papers; the firm was allegedly owned by one of Nawaz’s sons.