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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif might have narrowly escaped the fate April has stored for Pakistani politicians who have previously been overthrown, sentenced to life and hanged in the same month. Sharif, 67, today narrowly survived being disqualified after a 3-2 split decision by a Supreme Court bench which ordered to set up a Joint Investigation Team within a week to probe the allegations of money laundering against his family.
The JIT will present its report before the bench after every two weeks and complete the probe in 60 days. Interestingly, the verdict of the apex court comes in the same month during which previously Sharif was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 and his government was sacked in 1993. Prime Minister Sharif's governement was sacked by then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan for alleged corruption in April, 1993. The next time April spelled doom for Sharif when he was sentenced for life by a court on April 6, 2000 in the infamous 'plane hijacking case' based on allegations that Sharif as Prime Minister had disallowed to land a plane carrying then army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf, who toppled Sharif's government in 1999 in a bloodless coup. However, other Pakistani premiers have suffered a bad fate in April too. The worst April in history of the country was April 4, 1979 when former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged in Rawalpindi for criminal conspiracy to kill a leading politician. The hanging followed a dubious court proceeding allegedly orchestrated at the behest of military dictator Ziaul Haq who had overthrown Bhutto's government in 1978. Years later on April 26, 2012 Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was convicted for disobeying an order by court to write letter to Swiss government to reopen a corruption case against Asif Ali Zardari. Gilani stepped down on the same day.