Nawaz Sharif quits as Prime Minister after Pakistan SC unseats him in Panamagate

PTIUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 04:41 AM IST
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AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHI |

Islamabad: Nawaz Sharif on Friday resigned as Pakistan Prime Minister after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against the beleaguered leader and his children over the Panama Papers scandal. Nawaz’s younger brother Shehbaz Sharif, now the Chief Minister of the prosperous Punjab province, will be the new PM of Pakistan.

This is the third time 67-year-old Nawaz Sharif’s term as premier has been cut short. The much-awaited verdict plunged Pakistan into a political crisis at a time when the country is facing a brittle economy and a surge in militancy.

As the unanimous verdict by the five-judge Bench was read out by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan inside Supreme Court, a large number of Opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers celebrated outside.

Also Read: Khawaja Asif frontrunner to replace ‘disqualified’ Nawaz as Pak PM

The court disqualified Sharif under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution. The articles state that a member of Parliament should be truthful and righteous. “He is disqualified as a member of the Parliament so he has ceased to be holding the office of Prime Minister,” Justice Khan said. The court ordered the Election Commission to issue a notification for Sharif’s disqualification.

Following the court verdict, Sharif quit. Local media said that the government has accepted the verdict despite having serious reservations over it.

The Supreme Court also ordered the National Accountability Court to start a corruption case against Sharif, his sons — Hussain and Hassan — and his daughter Maryam. The Supreme Court ordered that the cases against them be registered within six weeks and trial be completed within six months.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Captain Muhammad Safdar, who is a Member of National Assembly, also stood disqualified from office, Radio Pakistan reported.

The Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, in a swipe at Sharif, tweeted, “Godfather’s Rule has ended for good! Truth & Justice have prevailed!”

Former information minister Marryium Aurangzeb said that Sharif would make a comeback for the fourth time soon. “We are disappointed by the court decision but in Pakistan’s historical context it is not surprising,” she said.

Pakistan’s former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf, congratulated the nation on the court’s decision. “It’s a good decision. The entire nation is jubilantly distributing sweets,” he said.

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