Pakistan bars former PM Sharif from holding office for life

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Pakistans deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif today 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.

Although Sharif has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the case, a panel of five judges reached a unanimous verdict in the Islamabad court.

Sharif, 67, resigned in July 2017 after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over an undeclared source of income, but the veteran leader maintains his grip on the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan on Friday said that he not sure about disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif, but rather Khawaja Asif will go to jail. Such a person can not contest elections or become a member of parliament, it added.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who was heading the bench, remarked before the verdict was announced that the public deserves "leaders of good character". Interestingly, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali had said no duration of disqualification was laid down in the Constitution and hence, only the Parliament had the power to determine the time of duration.

He said that Nawaz Sharif had no defence except for a bogus Qatari letter, looted billions from the nation, setup companies in his son's name claiming he is not answerable due to foreign nationality, and then claimed that he own no properties.

She said similar decision came in plane hijacking case against Nawaz Sharif but there is no suo motu against the person who abrogated the constitution, referring to Pervez Musharraf.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court has observed that an election candidate who has committed misconduct falling within the terms of Article 62 (1)(f) can not be compared to the case of an ex-convict under Article 63 (1)(h) as he has not paid a personal price for his delinquent act.

Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb of the PML-N party has called the ruling a "joke". He was the 15th Prime Minister.

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