ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday ousted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as President of the PML-N, saying a disqualified individual cannot become the head of a political party.
In a landmark short verdict, the apex court struck down Section 203 of the Election Act which allowed disqualified parliamentarians to be party leaders. The said clause, according to the court, was in violation of Art 62, 63 of the constitution.
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 Supreme Court also cancelled all the tickets awarded awarded by Nawaz Sharif to candidates for the Senate elections.
It said that Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification will be effective from July 28, 2017 after his disqualification as a member of the National Assembly.
The court said that a disqualified individual can not be elected or chosen the head of a party under Article 62, 63 of the Constitution.
Speaking to SAMAA TV, Advocate Faisal Chaudhry said the PML-N won’t be able to participate in Senate Elections as all the party tickets were issued by Nawaz Sharif.
The verdict came hours after Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar concluded the hearing of multiple petitions challenging the the recently-passed Elections Act 2017.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar is announcing the verdict which will decide the fate of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The bench took up clauses of the act that led to Nawaz Sharif’s appointment as party president following his dismissal as prime minister last year.
Wrapping up the case, the chief justice remarked that the bench will reconvene at 4:30pm and either announce a short order or reserve its judgment in the case.
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.
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. SAMAA
Story first published: 21st February 2018