How the Calibri font could take down Pakistan’s prime minister
Microsoft’s Calibri is a fairly innocuous font, used by default on countless numbers of Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents. The inoffensive lettering could soon topple Pakistan’s prime minister, however, after being placed at the heart of a corruption investigation.
Pakistan’s supreme court is currently deliberating a case against Nawaz Sharif, the head of the country’s government. As Al Jazeera reports, a Joint Investigative Team (JIT) encompassing police, military officials and financial regulators has been gathering evidence about the prime minister’s family’s assets.
This follows a judgment by investigators that there were “significant gap[s]” in Sharif’s family’s ability to explain their assets and means of income. The investigation stems from the 2016 Panama Paper leak, which named three of Sharif’s children as beneficiaries of offshore companies. Sharif’s political opponents claim that his properties in London were obtained through corrupt means.
Okay, so where does Calibri come in? Well, to prove her father’s innocence, Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif has produced a document – allegedly from 2006 – which claims to show certain declarations of income.
The JIT report, however, notes that the documents are written in Calibri, which was not made commercially available by Microsoft until 2007. The investigators say this means that the declarations are therefore incorrectly dated, and were likely created at some later point in time.
The investigation is ongoing, so it’s too soon to tell if a misused font is enough to undermine Sharif’s case, but it certainly isn’t going to do the precariously placed politician any favours. Still, at least it wasn’t Comic Sans.