Did a Microsoft font just expose corruption in Pakistan?


The Prime Minister's daughter, Maryam Nawaz, is widely seen as her father's political successor however if she's found to have forged documents to hide her family's assets it could dampen her leadership ambitions.

Calibri became the default font on Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and WordPad in 2007.

The charge was led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party has spearheaded the push against Sharif.

The premier observed that the report by the JIT did not present credible documents to contradict the evidence presented by Sharif family adding that it was a combination of baseless allegations put forth by his opponents.

Pakistan's leading English newspaper Dawn even reached out to Calibri creator Lucas De Groot, who seemed skeptical of the font's use before its public release.

But the Sharifs and their allies were defiant, with his ruling PML-N party dismissing the report as "trash" in a statement, and his daughter and presumptive political heir Maryam - also named in the report - vowing on Twitter that the allegations would be "decimated" in court.

But the papers were dated February 2006 - a year before the font in which they are typed was in widespread commercial use, according to its creator.

The hashtag #FontGate has exploded across Pakistan as citizens take to social media to poke fun at the government after claims documents were falsified as part of a 2017 corruption probe involving the country's leader.

The report concluded that the "accumulation of Maryam's assets shows a drastic hike in the early 1990s with no declared source of income".

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), set up by the Supreme Court to investigate corruption claims that surfaced following the Panama Papers leak, spent two months probing the Sharif family's wealth and gave its finding to the court on Monday.

A senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader told The Express Tribune the CM, while addressing a meeting of the parliamentary party, also advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to strengthen his legal team and fight the case whole hog.

"Our family has gained nothing from the politics, in fact it has lost a lot", Sharif said. In the meantime, the country's apex court will decide on how to proceed with the JIT's report and whether to call for a trial.

But Sharif contended that the "controversial" JIT had submitted a report "based on accusations and conjecture" that reflected "animosity and malice".