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Pakistan's Supreme Court Thursday sought a reply from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in response to several petitions seeking his resignation over a financial scandal involving his family.

The court gave Sharif two weeks to submit his response, Sharif's aides and opposition leaders told reporters outside the courthouse.

The premier has been under pressure from the opposition to step down because his family members were named as holders of offshore bank accounts in leaked financial documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

One of the petitions has come from the opposition party of cricketer turned politician Imran Khan who is threatening to bring tens of thousands of protesters to the capital, Islamabad, on Nov. 2 to press for Sharif's disqualification. This was the first step to make the prime minister answerable to the law, Khan said. "We wanted to have it settled in parliament, but the prime minister didn't present himself there for accountability."

He said the court proceedings didn't mean that he would postpone the street rallies.

Sharif's aide and Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the government was ready to be transparent and accountable. "We will never escape," he said. "We're ready for accountability at any forum."

Another of Sharif's ministers Khawaja Saad Rafique said there was no reason for any more protest rallies now that the country's top court had taken up the issue.




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