The fascinating story of how Microsoft’s Calibri font could help take down this Prime Minister

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The undoing of Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif government might be a Microsoft Word font the PM’s daughter Maryam used while allegedly forging documents she submitted to a team investigating illegal offshore properties flagged in the Panama Papers, the country’s media reported.

You may have sent an Outlook email to the wrong person or accidentally opened an embarrassing PowerPoint during a meeting, but for Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, one of Microsoft’s products is becoming a real problem.

 A legal battle is heating up thanks to Microsoft’s Calibri font.

Trouble for Sharif began after the 2016 leak of millions of documents known as the Panama Papers. Information in the leak suggested several of Sharif’s children used shell companies to purchase real estate without disclosing the details to authorities.

 

The Prime Minister was not mentioned directly, but there was an investigation into the sources of his family’s finances. At first, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that Sharif could remain Prime Minister, due to a lack of evidence of corruption.

But that may soon change — all because of the Calibri clue.

 

New concerns have arisen that Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, falsified documents, and Microsoft’s default font was the tip off.

According to reports by the BBC and International Business Times, a property deed that recently came to light is dated 2006, but appears to be typed in Microsoft’s Calibri font, which wasn’t widely released until 2007.

Experts told the BBC that a beta version of Windows 2007 had been available since 2004, but the inventor of the Calibri font, Lucas de Groot, told the BBC, “that beta versions were generally only used by ‘tech geeks’ rather than normal companies or government officials.”

The whole thing has prompted a tweet storm with the hastag #Fontgate.

A Microsoft spokesman was not immediately available for comment on the history of the font.

For their part, the Prime Minister, Maryam, and the other named siblings deny the allegations, according to the BBC, with PM Sharif saying the accusations are politically motivated.

The Pakistani Supreme Court is set to rule next week, says the BBC.

Twitter was abuzz in Pakistan with #Fontgate

 

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