SC disqualifies Nawaz Sharif as PML-N president

ISLAMABAD (Sarzameen News)- Announcing its verdict on petitions challenging a controversial amendment in Electoral Reforms Bill 2017, Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday ruled that a disqualified person cannot lead a political party.

The three-member bench of Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar also declared that all decisions taken by Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president stand null and void after today’s judgement.

While announcing the verdict, the apex court said that a person who doesn’t qualify on Article 62 and 63 of the constitution can also not hold the office of presidency of any political party. “Ineligible person cannot hold the office of party presidency,” the court said.

The court also declared null and void all the decisions taken by Nawaz Sharif as the President of the PML-N after his re-election. The SC also suspended the upcoming Senate’s elections scheduled to be held on March 3. It said that Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification will be effective from July 28, 2017 after his disqualification as a member of the National Assembly.

It added that the tickets for Senate elections issued by him will now be cancelled. The ruling party will now have to re-announce its candidates for the Senate polls that were scheduled for next month.

The top court also directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to remove Nawaz’s name from the column of party presidents. The Section 203 of the Election Act should be read with the Article 62 and 63 of the constitution, SC remarked.

During today’s hearing, the chief justice remarked that the country’s leadership is respectable, adding that the media misreported the court’s remarks.

Chief Justice Nisar also observed that there is no reason for the apex court to use words like thief, adding that the fallout of the issue is unacceptable.

Babar Awan, the counsel of PTI, took to Twitter and celebrated the verdict against the ex-PM. PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry claimed that the ruling party will now have no chance to win the Senate elections.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri said the ouster of Nawaz Sharif from his own party is the victory of the state. He predicted that the ex-PM will soon be arrested in the corruption cases against him.

After hearing the petitions against Election Act of 2017, Supreme Court had reserved its verdict to decide the political fate of Nawaz Sharif.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) remarked, “No parliamentarian was called thief,” while responding to the media reports.

Addressing the Pakistan Peoples Party counsel Latif Khosa during the hearing, the chief justice remarked that there would be a difference in rallies held by you or [slain party leader and former prime minister] Benazir Bhutto.

Another petitioner’s counsel, Farogh Naseem, argued that there is a precedent of a court order against a political party’s head.

The chief justice remarked that in other countries intra-party elections are held but the situation is different in Pakistan. “The party head is an important position,” the chief justice observed, adding that in Pakistan people are willing to sacrifice their lives for their leaders.

Awami Muslim League (AML) President Sheikh Rashid welcomed the Supreme Court verdict, calling it a historic decision. “We have won another petition against Nawaz Sharif. Our lawyer presented strong arguments before the court, he said.

In January 2018, SC had accepted petitions the petitions for hearing against the Election Act of 2017. These petitions were submitted by Awami Muslim League (AML), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and other political parties as well as groups of lawyers.

The bill was passed in the NA by the vote of all parties and can only be annulled if is contradictory to basic rights,” CJP had remarked in one of the hearing.

In September last year, Senate passed the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 with an amendment paving way for the former PM Nawaz Sharif to regain PML-N’s chairmanship. The bill was passed by a house session chaired by chairman Raza Rabbani. Amendment suggested by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Aitzaz Ahsan was rejected.

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