Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the opposition party led by former cricketer Imran Khan, on Thursday asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign after the Supreme Court ordered the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe into corruption allegations against his family members.
Pakistan's Supreme Court has ruled there was insufficient evidence to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption allegations, but has ordered a high-level investigation into the charges, APA reported citing Al Jazeera.
In a 540-page document published after the judgment began with a quote from The Godfather: "Behind every great fortune there is a crime".
The five-judge panel, formed by Pakistan's Supreme Court in November 2016 to investigate Sharif, delivered its ruling after two months of deliberation.
"We are ready for all kinds of investigation", Sharif's defence minister, Khawaja Asif, told reporters outside the court.
About 1,500 police officers were deployed around the court in Islamabad.
Khan's supporters gathered outside the Supreme Court building on Thursday and chanted: "Go Imran, Go".
The documents showed these companies were involved in a 2007 loan of $13.8m, made using high-value Sharif-owned properties in the United Kingdom as collateral, and a separate 2007 transaction amounting to $11.2m.
"The split verdict proves that people, especially the PTI who opposed the Prime Minister, are in a minority", said Ahsan Iqbal, a leader from Sharif's PML-N. But columnist and political analyst Umair Javed said the ruling had benefits for both sides, noting it was "interesting" that two judges had thought to disqualify Sharif.
The Premier's daughter, Maryam Nawaz, tweeted a photo of Prime Minister Sharif, his family and PML-N leaders celebrating the verdict with smiles and embraces.
The Supreme Court agreed past year to investigate the Sharif family's offshore wealth after opposition leader Imran Khan threatened street protests following the leak of the Panama Papers.
"It needs to be investigated how the money was transferred to Qatar", the verdict read. "The odds of this are quite low", he said.
Prime minister Sharif's government was sacked by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan for alleged corruption in April, 1993.
Pakistan, which marks its 70th anniversary of independence later this year, has seen a surge in optimism in recent months.
Such a move would leave Sharif's party in power, but trigger intense turmoil just when the economy is showing modest growth and security has improved as the civilian government and the powerful military have appeared to come to uneasy terms.