Pakistan Supreme Court Rules Ousted Leader Nawaz Sharif Cannot Lead His Party

22 February 2018, 12:56 | Isaac Mcdaniel

The accountability court hearing the case is located inside the Federal Judicial Complex

The accountability court hearing the case is located inside the Federal Judicial Complex

Pakistan's Supreme Court said that a disqualified politician can not lead a political party, a verdict that will stop former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif heading the nation's ruling group months before elections.

"Ineligible person can not hold the office of a party presidency", the court said.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umer Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsen heard the petitions, challenging section 203 of the Elections Act 2017, which had allowed a disqualified person to be a party office bearer.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has termed Supreme Court ruling in Election Act 2017 against the basic principles of the justice.

In the verdict read out by the chief justice, it was also stated that a party's presidency is directly related to the parliament.

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". The Chief Justice added, "No parliamentarian was called thief".

"My understanding is that the candidates can still contest but as independent and not as Nawaz Sharif's party ticket holders", Chaudhry told Reuters.

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The apex court began hearing the case in January 2018.

ِIn addition, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to remove Nawaz Sharif's name as PML-N President. He has targeted the judiciary for removing him from the office of the prime minister and also come up with give respect to the ballot slogan. He said the election of PM Abbasi was protected as he was not legally nominated by Nawaz Sharif before his re-elections as the party chief.

Ruling PML-N, analysts react to SC judgement that renders a disqualified person ineligible to hold party head's office.

The PML-N holds a majority in the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, and has hopes of winning control of the Senate in elections due on March 3.

Constitutional lawyer Farogh Nasim said the ruling could also affect midterm Senate elections next month.

Nawaz Sharif has already served as Pakistan's prime minister twice, once from 1990 to 1993, and from 1997 to 1999.

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