Pakistan SC bars Nawaz Sharif from contesting elections for life

Supporters of former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif protest in Islamabad against the Supreme Court decision to disqualify him from holding office for life. Photo: Reuters
Pakistan’s deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday became ineligible to hold public office for life after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the disqualification of two lawmakers, including him was permanent, in a landmark verdict ending the political future of the three-time premier ahead of general elections this year.

The verdict was issued by the apex court while hearing a case related to the determination of time duration for disqualification of a lawmaker under the Constitution.

The five-judge bench of the Supreme 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.

Article 62, which sets the precondition for a member of parliament to be “sadiq and ameen” (honest and righteous), is the same provision under which Sharif was disqualified on July 28, 2017, in the Panama Papers case.

Sharif, 68, was disqualified by the Supreme Court for not being “honest and righteous” as he failed to declare in 2013 a salary he got from the company of his son in the UAE.

In February, the court also disqualified Sharif as the head of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). In Friday’s verdict, it said that under the country’s Constitution, no person once disqualified from office by the top court can hold public office again. 

The historic ruling ended Sharif's hopes to stage a political comeback in general elections slated after June. Likewise, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen was disqualified on December 15 last year by a separate bench of the apex court under the same provision. Following the verdict, both Sharif and Tareen have become ineligible to ever hold public office.