Former PM Sharif barred from office for life

Lifestyle       by Aleena Raheel | Published

A five-member bench unanimously ruled that Mr Sharif's ban would be for life because he had already failed an "honest and trustworthy" test when he was disqualified previous year. Such a person can not contest elections or become a member of parliament.

Justice Umar Ata Bandyal read out the 60-page verdict of the five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, in cases involving interpretation and determination of the question of temporary or permanent bar from contesting elections. The Supreme Court ruled that whether he received the salary or not was immaterial.

Sharif has served as prime minister three times and each time was removed from office - in 1993 by presidential order, in 1999 by a military coup that saw him jailed and later exiled before returning when General Pervez Musharraf stepped down, and in 2017 over the corruption probe. Likewise, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen was disqualified on Dec 15 previous year by a separate bench of the apex court under the same provision. The explosive documents showed that the Sharif family had used offshore companies to acquire expensive real estate in London and that the prime minister himself could not otherwise account for assets "disproportionate to his known means of income".

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"Today once again, the three-time elected prime minister of Pakistan has been disqualified for life", state minister and Sharif ally Marriyum Aurangzeb told reporters outside the court.

The AG had also emphasised that the provision did not determine the length of disqualification, adding that the court would have to look into the matter on a case-to-case basis. As the Pakistani elections near, it will be the competition between the parties, PML-N and its rival Tehreek-e-Insaf, to win the support of the public and get into the position of power. The charges against him, if proven, could land him in jail for 21 years.

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