ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday announced verdict in Election Act 2017 case, declaring former prime minister Nawaz Sharif ineligible for holding Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) presidentship and other public offices.
Announcing its decision, the SC elaborated that a person disqualified under Article 62, 63 of the Constitution cannot hold party office. As a result of the verdict, all decisions made by Nawaz as party president, including nomination of candidates for the Senate elections, have been invalidated.
The party members, however, can contest Senate elections as independent candidates since party electoral symbols can not be assigned to individuals.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, had been hearing several petitions challenging specific clauses of the election act that led to Sharif’s appointment as party president following his disqualification as prime minister in the Panama Papers case.
In his remarks, Justice Nisar said that since a party head is a powerful figure and that political parties run governments, it is necessary for a party spearhead to bear a ‘good character’ and fulfill the requirements of the mentioned articles.
Nawaz’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, in the wake of SC’s decision, uploaded a picture on Twitter showing support to her father.
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) February 21, 2018
Prominent journalists and politicians also took to twitter to have their say on the apex court’s decision.
Journalist Talat Hussain (@TalatHussain12): “#SilentCoup continues to unfold. The verdict to disqualify Nawaz as party head, thus disqualifying his candidates from contesting Senate polls, is announced today but it was known to everyone. It was Pakistan’s worst kept secret.
Journalist Salman Masood (@salmanmasood): “Pakistan Supreme Court disallows former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to lead his political party, PML-N. For some context, my story from earlier this month and as predicted clashes between Mr. Sharif and judiciary were expected to intensify.”
Journalist Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaGeoNews): “Supreme Court removes Nawaz Sharif as PML-N party head but this means nawaz sharif’s hold on party will tighten further, his narrative of victimhood will resonate further with the masses, it’s clear nawaz sharif is being targeted by the SC openly to engineer politics.”
Special correspondent Daily Times Marvi Sirmed (@marvisirmed): “If all the decisions made by Mian Nawaz Sharif have been declared null and void, where does his decision to appoint Chief of Army Staff stand? #InnocentQuestion #AchaSorry”
PPP Media Cell quoted Bilawal Bhutto as saying (@MediaCellPPP): “Now again Nawaz wants to dictate the judiciary and get the decisions of their choice: @BBhuttoZardari“