The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan has ordered that former Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif can no longer be the leader of the political party. He had been removed from the PM’s post six months back, after he was accused of corruption.
The SC of Pakistan says that a disqualified person cannot be the head of any political party. Nawaz Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), had made a change in the law due to which Nawaz Sharif could remain the head of the political party even after being disqualified for public posts. The SC’s order has now made the law unnecessary.
Nawaz Sharif is the only leader of Pakistan who has been the PM thrice. For the first time, he was the PM from November 1990 to July 1993. In his second tenure, he took office in February 1997 till the coup in 1999. After winning the general elections in 2013, he was elected as the PM for the third time.
Nawaz Sharif was nationally recognised as a statesman during the initial days of General Zia-ul- Haq’s rule. In those days, he was chief minister (CM) of the Punjab province from 1985 to 1990. In the provincial government, he took charge of the finance ministry.
After Zia-ul-Haq’s death in 1988, his party was divided into two factions. One of these factions was led by the former Prime Minister Mohammed Khan Junjo, while the other was led by Nawaz Sharif.
In its order, the SC has said that its verdict should be deemed effective from July 28, 2017 ( after his removal from the post of PM, that is). Nawaz Sharif had said that he had been removed from the post as a political conspiracy. He and his party have launched a lot of fights against the judiciary in recent times.
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar passed the order immediately after hearing the 17 petitions challenging the changes made in the law. A bench of three judges heard the case.
The SC also seems to have cancelled the tickets of all the candidates elected by Nawaz Sharif for the Senate election. Faisal Chaudhry, the counsel for one of the 17 petitions, said, “My understanding is that the candidates can still contest but as independent and not as Nawaz Sharif’s party ticket holders.”
The PML-N is in the majority in the National Assembly – and after the March 3, 2018 election, it was expected to get a majority in the Senate too. It was expected that after attaining a majority in both the Houses, after changing the law for Sharif’s party and after the election this year, the way for Sharif to become the PM again would become clear.
It’s also been alleged that the SC has also stayed/annulled the Senate elections, which had originally been scheduled for March 3, 2018. It has termed all decisions taken after Sharif’s re-election as party chief as invalid. In that context, Justice Saqib Nisar has ordered, “The Election Commission is directed to remove the name of Nawaz Sharif as president of PML-N from all official records.”