Pakistani PM Brought Down by a Font

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 became a real problem. He has been forced to resign after he was disqualified from office by the country’s top court.

Interestingly the use of a Microsoft font has played a huge role in Mr Sharif’s downfall. The Calibri font was at the heart of the scandal that engulfed Mr Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Sharif, after the 2016 Panama Papers revealed a string of offshore companies linked to the family had been used to purchase a number of luxury properties in London.

Documents submitted in defence of the Sharif family appeared to show that Maryam Sharif was only a trustee of the company that bought the flats. However, the declaration, dated February 2006, was typed in the Calibri font, which was not introduced until 2007 — raising suspicions that the document may have been forged.

Calibri replaced Times New Roman as Word’s default typeface in 2007 and replaced Arial in Excel, Outlook, and Powerpoint. Calibri became the default font in Office for Mac 2016. However, Microsoft’s website states that version 1.0 of the font was available to download separately as far back as 2005.

The font was designed to work with Microsoft’s ClearType system, which is an application used to make text easier to read on LCD monitors. Cambria, Candara, Consolas, Constantia, and Corbel, are part of the same font family.

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