The Microsoft font Calibri could be an unlikely smoking gun in a corruption scandal which has mired Pakistan’s ruling family and captivated the country.
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) November 15, 2016
nvestigators looking into the scandal noticed an odd thing.
The document is dated 2006. But it was typed using Calibri.
And, as the investigators noted in their report, that font was not commercially available until the following year.
The political dynasty
When the Joint Investigation Team was set up in April, Prime Minister Sharif pledged that if anything from the investigation proved corruption, he would step down.
Sharif’s term as Prime Minister ends next year and he can’t run again because of term limits. His daughter, Maryam, is widely regarded as his potential successor.
After the investigation team sent its report to the Supreme Court, Maryam Sharif rejected it and she has denied any wrongdoing. Sharif’s son, Hussain, is also under investigation. He too has said all the business affairs were legal.
JIT report REJECTED. Every contradiction will not only be contested but decimated in SC. NOT a penny of public exchequer involved: PMLN
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) July 10, 2017
Government lawyers are expected to formally challenge the findings.
The properties are at the center of a scandal that was first ignited with the release of the Panama Papers in April 2016. That’s the huge cache of leaked documents, dating back four decades, that are allegedly connected to Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that revealed the financial dealings of some of the world’s most well-known people.
While Sharif himself was not named, his three adult children were linked in the Papers to offshore companies that owned properties in London. One British Virgin Islands holding firm listed Maryam as the sole shareholder.
Calls for an investigation, led by former cricketer-turned-opposition politician Imran Khan, began when three of Sharif’s children, his sons Hussain and Hasan, and daughter Maryam, were named in the 2016 document dump. Hasan too has denied wrongdoing.
NS has now lost all moral authority to remain PM – an authority that began dwindling when Panama Papers came out. He must resign immediately
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) July 10, 2017
Oh. My. God. pic.twitter.com/LC5w13f9RX
— Zarrar Khuhro (@ZarrarKhuhro) July 10, 2017
Pakistani social media users greeted the news of Maryam Sharif’s alleged forgery with a mixture of humor and shock, as the hashtag “fontgate” trended on Twitter.
Pakistani journalists also noted that a Wikipedia page focusing on the font had been edited dozens of times over two days — an unusually high number.
— Safi Ullah (@safigraphy) July 11, 2017