Pakistan Supreme Court bans ex-PM from leading his party

Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday to bar Nawaz Sharif from his position as president of the country’s ruling party and reverse all of his decisions.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif talks with journalists after he appeared before an accountability court, in Islamabad on September 26, 2017. On Wednesday, the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled Sharif can no longer lead his party. File Photo by T. Mughal/EPA-EFE
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif talks with journalists after he appeared before an accountability court, in Islamabad on September 26, 2017. On Wednesday, the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled Sharif can no longer lead his party. File Photo by T. Mughal/EPA-EFE

“The Election Commission is directed to remove the name of Nawaz Sharif as president of [the Pakistan Muslim League] from all official records,” Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said, according to the BBC.”As a result, all steps taken, all orders passed by Nawaz Sharif are also declared to be as if they had never been taken.”
Sharif was ousted as prime minister and president of the PLM-N party and deemed unfit for office in 2017 for failing to declare a foreign bank account, which violated Articles 62 and 63 of Pakistan’s Constitution which state politicians must be “honest” and “righteous.”

However, Sharif was able to maintain power after his party retained a majority in the National Assembly and his party then passed the Elections Act 2017, which allowed disqualified politicians to lead political parties.

That political maneuver — and all decisions made by Sharif over the past year — was voided by the Supreme Court Wednesday.

How this affects the PLM-N’s electoral success is remains to be seen.

Daniyal Aziz, a cabinet minister, told the Guardian that it will actually help Sharif and his party.

“This is only going to add to the wave of support for the PML-N [Sharif’s party],” Aziz said. “The public think the party is being victimized.”

It’s also unlikely Sharif will be kept very far away from the reigns of his party since his likely successor will be his wife, Kusloom.

“Through his wife, Mr. Sharif would still be able to control the party,” Rizvi said.

By Daniel Uria and Ray Downs