Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified by the Supreme Court, from holding office for life.
The court banned Sharif, aged 67, from politics, over an undeclared source of income. However, the veteran leader maintains his grip on the ruling of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The court addressed an ambiguity over whether or not he was barred for life for not being honest. The ruling was an interpretation of a constitutional article which has previously been used to remove legislators from office.
Nawaz Sharif and his family have labelled the corruption proceedings as a conspiracy and even hinted at an intervention by the military. However, opponents have hailed them as a shocking example of the rich and powerful being held accountable.
Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb said that ‘nameless and faceless people’ had interfered to orchestrate Sharif’s political demise and the downfall of the PML-N.
“Now they disqualified (Sharif) for life. But people of Pakistan will decide whether the disqualification of an elected prime minister is for one day or for life,” she added.
Sharif is currently appearing before an accountability court, located in Islamabad, on other charges which have been linked to London properties, owned by members of his family.
He served as Prime Minster three times, and each time, Nawaz was removed from office, by presidential order, by a military coup that saw him jailed and later exiled before returning when General Pervez Musharraf had stepped down.
Nawaz had also been removed as head of the party when the courts overturned a legal amendment made by the PML-N lawmakers, which allowed him to remain party president, even though he was disqualified from the public office.
Although he is not a party leader, Sharif has considerable influence over the work of the PML-N, and he enjoys the constant support of its core leadership.