Pakistan’s Supreme Court Wednesday disqualified former PM Nawaz Sharif as president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in the verdict regarding petitions against Election Act 2017.
Announcing the verdict, the court said that a person who does not qualify on Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot also hold the presidency of any political party. “Ineligible person cannot hold the office of party presidency,” the court said. The court annulled all decisions made by Nawaz Sharif as party head. The Chief Justice added: “No parliamentarian was called thief.”
Earlier, after hearing the petitions against Election Act 2017, the Supreme Court had reserved its verdict to decide the political fate of Nawaz Sharif.
In January 2018, the court had accepted petitions against Election Act 2017. These petitions were filed by the Awami Muslim League (AML), Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and other parties, as well as groups of lawyers.
“The bill was passed in the NA by the vote of all parties and can only be annulled if is contradictory to basic rights,” he said.
The approval of Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 paved the way for sacked PM Nawaz Sharif to become president of the PML-N. It was passed by both Houses of Parliament despite the bone of contention being its Section 203, which allowed the former PM to hold office as PML-N president.
In July 2017, the court had disqualified Nawaz Sharif from the premiership in connection with the Panama Papers case under Article 62. The five-judge larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justices Ejaz Afzal Khan, Gulzar Ahmed, Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Ijazul Ahsan unanimously announced the decision in Courtroom No. 1.
Mr Sharif is no more truthful and honest as he failed to prove his assets of 2013, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan had told the packed courtroom.
Mr Nawaz Sharif has, meanwhile, complained that the “hands of a state institution have reached Parliament’s collar”. The former PM’s statement comes at a time when leaders of the PML-N are criticising the judiciary in public rallies months away from the 2018 general election for disqualifying Nawaz Sharif in July 2017 in a corruption probe.
A delegation of the ruling party called on Mr Sharif at his Jati Umra residence and while addressing those present, the former PM welcomed the judges’ stance of hailing the Constitution of Pakistan as a sacred and supreme document.
However, he complained that had a section of the judiciary shared same views about the Constitution, democracy would not have suffered in Pakistan for the past 70 years.
The former PM said Parliament defines jurisdictions of state institutions with the help of the Constitution. He said Parliament was hailed as the mother of all the State institutions and was considered a pillar among the pillars of the judiciary and the administration.
The ex-PM complained that dictators had the Constitution remain in the trash bin for 32 years while legislators who followed the dictators became silent spectators.
Mr Sharif equated challenging the authority of the Parliament as equating challenging the state system.
The disqualified PM recommended any law that was needed to be defined should be forwarded to Parliament for this purpose. He further added that the nation had now realised how tactics were being used to target one family.