April 21, 2018

Sharif barred from contesting polls for life after Pak SC verdict

14 April 2018, 01:42 | Rufus Hill

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Pakistan's Supreme Court disqualified and deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding office for life.

Justice Umar Ata Bandyal read out the 60-page verdict of the five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, in cases involving interpretation and determination of the question of temporary or permanent bar from contesting elections.

The court also banned disqualified opposition politician Jahangir Tareen from running for office again.

Tareen was disqualified late a year ago for not declaring his United Kingdom assets to tax authorities.

The court had grappled with Article 62 (1)(f) which only stated that a lawmaker is disqualified under specified conditions but did not set out the duration of the disqualification.

Friday's ruling addressed an ambiguity over Sharif's disqualification and whether he was barred from office for life or a specific period. In 2009 and 2010, when the then ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) proposed removal of Article 62, Nawaz Sharif had opposed it, believing the move would upset the powerful military establishment.

Friday's ruling came after a 15-month investigation into his family's wealth after Sharif's children were linked to offshore banking companies in the 2015 release of confidential data known as the Panama Papers.

Sharif, his three children and absentee Finance Minister Ishaq Dar now face criminal proceedings on allegations that they purchased overseas properties illegally.

"And the people of Pakistan have always rejected these judgments", Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb told reporters outside the Supreme Court.

The three-time prime minister concluded his conversation by saying that such type of verdicts fails to deprive masses of their elected leadership.

Sharif was also removed as head of the party he founded when the courts overturned a legal amendment by PML-N lawmakers in February that allowed him to remain party president despite being disqualified from public office.

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