Nawaz Sharif steps down: How KT is part of historic decision
Dubai - Khaleej Times story put to rest any doubts about the veracity of Sharif's employment in UAE
Pakistan's Supreme Court has announced a historic verdict and disqualified the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after a week-long deliberation on Friday.
A spokesman for Sharif says he has stepped down despite having reservations about the court order that disqualified him from serving.
The SC has referred the case to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigation within six weeks.
Khaleej Times, too, was part of this historic moment when on July 18 it published an exclusive report that confirmed that Nawaz Sharif's job papers for a Jebel Ali Freezone based company were legal.
Opinion-makers said that the KT report was the final nail in the coffin of Nawaz rule and a gamechanger in the current political scenario in Pakistan.
KT's exclusive report brought to light the damning documents submitted by the Dubai-based law firm Khalifa bin Huwaidan, which was consulted by Pakistan's Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that submitted a 254-page report to the Pakistan's Supreme Court into Nawaz' family wealth.
As Khaleej Times quoted Khalifa bin Huwaidan, a lawyer and legal advisor at his eponymous law firm, the report verified that the employment documents implied that Nawaz was employed by Capital FZE in Dubai until 2014 and were 100 per cent legal.
The legal documents put Nawaz in a tight spot since his employment in UAE was a matter of a long winding debate.
All major Pakistani political parties shared the news on their social media sites while news anchors of major Pakistani news channels such as ARY, Dunya TV, AAJ and several others quoted the story in their prime-time broadcasts, leading to the infusion of a fresh vigour into the longstanding legal investgation.
Analysts and political commentators acknowledged the revelations that were part of the Khaleej Times exclusive as "very damaging" for Sharif, and were unanimous in the belief that the report "could change the case for Nawaz Sharif."
Rauf Klasra, author and columnist who appears on the primetime show Muqabil on Channel 92, discussed the KT story saying: "It was a sort of bombshell confirming facts about PM's job in Dubai. It was a new thing for Pakistanis that a Dubai law firm had submitted its legal opinion in SC.no one knew [about] it," he said.
The Khaleej Times story put to rest any doubts about the veracity of Nawaz Sharif's employment in the UAE after proper quotes and confirmation from the concerned law firm quoting labour laws and 100 per cent legal status of job contract.
The story put an end to the ongoing debate in Pakistan on whether Nawaz withdrew a salary or not. As per the UAE labour law, all employees have to receive a salary through a bank account under the UAE's Wage Protection System (WPS) failing which the firm can be blacklisted and shut down.
Also, as per the UAE law, if no record of a salary transfer to the bank is found, the employer is held liable not the employee.
"So this chapter has been closed by the KT story," said Rauf.
The revelations in the KT story went viral, and the story was immediately substantiated by rival political parties in Pakistan as proof of Nawaz Sharif's wrongdoing.
Former Pakistani President Pervaiz Musharraf's political party All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) tweeted, "Confirmation by Khaleej Times. Nawaz Sharif is a source of shame for Pakistan!"
Meanwhile, Imran Khan's party Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaaf (PTI) shared the KT story on its social media and said, "Final nail in the coffin of Nawaz's rule as Dubai-based firm verifies Nawaz Sharif was an employee of a UAE company till 2014 which was never declared by him."
The JIT has revealed that Nawaz did not disclose this information before running for the highest public office in 2013 which is against the Constitution of Pakistan. The JIT findings are based on its correspondence with Jafza.
The SC is currently hearing a case against Sharifs who are being probed after the Panama Papers revealed in 2016 that three of his children owned offshore companies and assets not shown on his family's wealth statement.
The assets in question include four expensive flats in Park Lane, London.