Pakistan Supreme Court rules Nawaz Sharif can not lead party

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Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, declaring that anyone disqualified from holding office can not serve as head of a political party.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Sharif from the post of Prime Minister after the apex court found him guilty in the Panama Papers verdict.

"Ineligible person can not hold the office of a party presidency", the court said.

Despite the fact that the Supreme Court's short order consists of only nine paragraphs, it has already put the upcoming Senate elections in jeopardy.

The court also declared as illegal all acts by Sharif during his tenure as party chief, including the finalising of Senate tickets.

In the court order, Supreme Court Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to remove Mr Sharif as party head from all relevant records.

PML-N spokesman went on to say today’s ruling will damage democratic values in Pakistan as it has snatched a political party its democratic right to elect its chief.

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Political personalities, including Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, Babar Awan, Asad Umar, also commented over the decision that has stirred the political environment in the country. He said that procedures for Senate election were different from National Assembly elections and the new PML-N president can issue a certificate to the party candidates for Senate elections.

"How can a person who cannot even become a union councilor become a party chief?" he asked, alleging that the PML-N had tried to use parliament to pass a law (the Elections Act 2017) to suit their needs.

The Punjab law minister said the party will "follow the line determined by Nawaz".

"This decision has neither jolted the PML-N nor Nawaz Sharif", she claimed, adding that the decision will only support the narrative Sharif has been peddling: that he was ousted through a weak judgement and all other decisions are being made to defend that "weak decision".

Under The Representation of Peoples Act 1976, a disqualified person could not hold office of a party.

Control of both houses could allow the PML-N to change the constitution to make Sharif eligible to hold office again when the party contests general elections due later this year.