Pak SC disqualifies Sharif as PML-N chief

Hannah Rogers
February 22, 2018

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif be removed as head of the political party he founded, six months after the court disqualified him as the country's leader over unreported income.

While announcing the verdict, the apex court said that a person who doesn't qualify on Article 62 and 63 of the constitution can also not hold the office of presidency of any political party.

The court ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to remove Sharif as head of the PML-N and ordered that "all steps taken, orders passed, directions given and documents issued" by him since his disqualification as prime minister past year "are also declared to have never been taken, passed, given or issued in the eyes of the law".

Sharif and his supporters have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, suggesting the three-time prime minister is the victim of a conspiracy driven by Pakistan's powerful military establishment.

The ruling by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heading a three-judge penal, was in response to petitions from opposition parties who challenged a constitutional amendment pushed through parliament by Sharif's party past year, after he resigned as premier over corruption charges.

Marriyum Aurangzeb said the Supreme Court's verdict was continuation of Panama's verdict.

Another petitioner's counsel, Farogh Naseem, argued that there is a precedent of a court order against a political party's head.

"The Election Commission is directed to remove the name of Nawaz Sharif as president of PML-N from all official records", Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said from the bench.

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Terming the today’s SC judgement in Election Act 2017 against the basic principles of justice, PML-N spokesman said one could not find any such example of this kind of ruling in democratic history.

"Sharif can not be pulled out of the people's heart through court decisions", he said.

Chief Justice Nisar also observed that there is no reason for the apex court to use words like thief, adding that the fallout of the issue is unacceptable.

PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said the SC decision should not be taken as against Sharif or linked with his disqualification earlier.

"Whoever wants to be in the party will have to accept Nawaz as final authority", he said.

They also content that the law is against the spirit of the Constitution.

"If people support the PML-N, it should stay in government - but that does not mean that [Nawaz] keeps on saying that the decision to disqualify him was wrong", he told DawnNews.

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