Ruling declares lawmakers disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution are permanently barred from contesting any elections
The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday banned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from participating in elections for life, as his embattled ruling party prepares for nationwide polls due later this year.
The ruling was the latest in a series of blows to Sharif who was ousted from the premiership over graft allegations last July.
Supreme Court Justice Umar Ata Bandial described the ban on Sharif as “permanent” in a judgment read to the court, clarifying the length of an earlier ruling that disqualified the former premier from office. The judgment also potentially hits Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Jahangir Khan Tareen, who was also disqualified from office under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.
The decision was immediately panned by Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party. “Today once again, the three-time elected prime minister of Pakistan has been disqualified for life,” state minister and Sharif ally Marriyum Aurangzeb told reporters outside the court.
Last month, Nawaz’s brother Shahbaz Sharif formally took charge of the PMLN after an earlier court ruling banned the former premier from heading the party.
The Sharifs and their supporters have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, suggesting the former prime minister is the victim of a conspiracy driven by Pakistan’s military establishment.
Sharif was the 15th prime minister in Pakistan’s 70-year history—roughly half of it under military rule—to be removed before completing a full term.
The court ruling comes months ahead of expected general elections, pitting the PMLN against its main rival, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party led by former cricket star Imran Khan. Despite the numerous court rulings against the PMLN, the party has won a string of recent by-elections proving it will likely remain a force in the next polls.