Nawaz Sharif To Quit As PM following Pakistan Supreme Court Verdict
New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be bowing out of office after the country’s Supreme Court on Friday found him guilty of corruption in Panama Papers leak case and disqualified him as a member of the National Assembly.
The five-judge bench, in a unanimous verdict, commented Nawaz Sharif “is no more honest and righteous”.
The top court also pointed out that the Prime Minister had not submitted valid asset details in 2013 general elections. It ordered the National Accountability Bureau to file a case against Sharif and his children within six weeks.
Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who headed the implementation bench, said that cases should be opened against Maryam Nawaz (Sharif’s daughter), Captain Muhammad Safdar (Maryam’s husband), Hassan and Hussain Nawaz (PM Sharif’s sons) as well as Nawaz Sharif and a judgement should be announced within 30 days.
While dismissing Sharif, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan observed, “He is no more eligible to be an honest member of the Parliament and he ceases to be holding the office of Prime Minister.”
Apart from the Prime Minister, Supreme Court also disqualified Finance Minister Ishaq Dar from office. It was Ishaq Dar, the former accountant of Sharif, who had submitted documents to the Supreme Court about how Sharif family obtained their wealth.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif are contenders for the post of Pakistan Prime Minister.
Sharif has constantly denied any corruption and dismissed the investigation against him as biased and inaccurate. His allies allege that it is a conspiracy to unseat him.
“This is not accountability, it is revenge,” tweeted Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq hours before the verdict was announced. “In an effort to dislodge us, the democratic system has been made a target.”
Incidentally, Sharif’s terms of office during his two previous stints were also cut short. There was a military coup in 1999. However, he came back from exile and won in the 2013 elections.
His party, PML-N, which is the ruling party having majority in the Parliament, will have to appoint a new Prime Minister. Nawaz Sharif is chairing a meeting in Islamabad for the purpose.