Nawaz Sharif not eligible to hold post of PML-N party chief

Nawaz to hold ‘mammoth’ public meeting in city

Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a disqualified politician can not lead a political party, ordering the removal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as head of the country's ruling party.

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

The petitions challenged specific clauses of the Elections Act 2017, stating that Sharif Nawaz's appointment as party president is in violation of Clause 5 of the Political Parties Order 2002 and Article 17 of the Constitution.

The decision comes months after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) passed a law allowing Sharif to remain at its helm despite being removed from the premiership and barred from holding any office over graft allegations last July.

The chief justice said a person who is disqualified under the Constitution of the country is not eligible to sign on any document that is needed to nominate someone to the National Assembly or Senate. Delivering the verdict, the Chief Justice said that it was mandatory for chief of political party to fulfil the requirements of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. As a result of the verdict, all decisions taken by Nawaz Sharif as PML-N's president stand null and void.

While #MujhayKyunNikala trended on Twitter following the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister of Pakistan past year, this recent verdict stirred Twitteratis to generate several hashtags to express their opinions over the recent political development.

"Nawaz Sharif is our leader and a court judgement can't affect our will to seek guidance from him and struggle under his leadership", Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told ARY News.

The approval of Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 had paved way for sacked premier Nawaz Sharif to become president of the PML-N.

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He also noted that Sharif had attended all of the court hearings and if fleeing would had been an issue, the court would had ordered the travel ban.

The Panamagate case, officially titled Imran Khan Niazi v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, was heard between 1 November 2016 and 23 February 2017.

"My understanding is that the candidates can still contest but as independent and not as Nawaz Sharif's party ticket holders", Chaudhry said.

Similarly, when former military ruler Pervaiz Musharraf imposed restrictions on the PPP, a new party called PPP-Parliamentarians was created, but the decisions for that party were also taken by Benazir Bhutto.

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.

Following Wednesday's judgement, the Senate elections scheduled for March 3 will also be postponed, .

Nawaz Sharif has already served as Pakistan's prime minister twice, once from 1990 to 1993, and from 1997 to 1999.

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