Pakistan Court Order Bars Sharif From Leading Ruling Party

Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday disqualified former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to be chief of the country's ruling party, saying that a person who is not eligible to hold a public office can not head a party. It citied articles 62 and 63 of the Pakistani Constitution, which state that a disqualified individual can not lead a party, Pakistan Today reported.

The petitions challenged specific clauses of the Elections Act 2017, stating that Sharif Nawaz's appointment as party president is in violation of Clause 5 of the Political Parties Order 2002 and Article 17 of the Constitution.

"The Election Commission is directed to remove the name of Nawaz Sharif as president of PML-N from all official records", Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said, according to Reuters.

PML-N spokesman went on to say today’s ruling will damage democratic values in Pakistan as it has snatched a political party its democratic right to elect its chief.

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"Sharif can not be pulled out of the people's heart through court decisions", he also said. The decision was made by 3 member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar passed the decision against the Elections Act 2017 passed by the parliament of Pakistan.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry rejected on Tuesday last week's request by anti-corruption authorities to impose a travel ban on former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members.

The apex court began hearing the case in January 2018. She said since the Panama Papers verdict, "all decisions have been taking to target a single personality" - Nawaz Sharif.

Before Maryam Nawaz, other PML-N leaders too criticised the judgement and reiterated that Nawaz Sharif will continue to lead PML-N and "no court judgement can stop the party from seeking guidance from Nawaz".

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Control of both houses could allow the PML-N to change the constitution to make Sharif eligible to hold office again when the party contests general elections due later this year.

Sharif's party retains a majority in the National Assembly and has vowed it will be vindicated in elections held this year, in which his brother will be the prime ministerial candidate.

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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