Pakistan’s Supreme Court (SC) on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption
cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers
scandal, forcing the embattled leader to resign.
It is the third time that the 67-year-old veteran politician’s term as premier has been cut short. The much-awaited verdict plunged Pakistan into a political crisis at a time when the country is facing a brittle economy and a surge in militancy.
As the unanimous verdict by the five-judge Bench was read out by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan inside the packed courtroom 1 of the SC, a large number of Opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers celebrated outside chanting the slogan, ‘Go, Nawaz, Go’.
The court disqualified Sharif under Article 62 and 63 of Pakistan’s Constitution. The articles state that a member of Parliament should be “truthful” and “righteous”.
“He is disqualified as a member of the parliament so he has ceased to be holding the office of Prime Minister,” Justice Khan said. The court ordered the Election Commission to issue a notification for Sharif’s disqualification.
Following the order, the Election Commission de-notified Sharif from NA-120 constituency (in Lahore).
The federal Cabinet also stands dissolved.
Though there was no official announcement, Geo News reported that after a consultative session of the PML-N, Shehbaz Sharif has emerged as the most likely candidate to be the next prime minister of Pakistan after an interim premier has served a 45-day period.
A name has not been announced for the interim prime minister, who will fill the 45-day vacuum until Shehbaz, 65, is elected to a National Assembly seat, the report said.
The court verdict said that having furnished a false declaration under solemn affirmation, Sharif was “not honest” under terms of the Constitution.