CJP led the three-member bench to hear the petitions against Electoral Reforms Bill 2017

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan disqualified Nawaz Sharif as president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the verdict regarding petitions against Election Act of 2017. 

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. SC has also annulled all decisions made by Nawaz Sharif as the party head.

READ: Five-page verdict of Supreme Court in petitions against Election Act 2017 to disqualify Nawaz Sharif as PML-N head

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.  

Photo: Section 203 of the Election Bill 2017

‘Senate elections 2018 to be postponed’

Former secretary of ECP Kanwar Dishad has asserted that according to the SC verdict in Nawaz Sharif s party chief case, Senate elections 2018 have been annulled which were scheduled on March 3, 2018.

Senior lawyers have also opined that Senate elections are now likely to be postponed following the decision.

Reaction of opposition parties

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.

PPP leader Maula Bux Chandio opined that Senate elections are likely to be postponed only because of the stubbornness of the disqualified premier.

PML-N’s reaction

Leaders of the ruling PML-N have publicly rejected the SC verdict against Nawaz Sharif as party head. Abid Sher Ali said in a tweet that he doesn’t accept the top court’s decision as for him only Nawaz is the leader. Similarly, Hina Butt said Nawaz will remain as PML-N president despite the court orders.

PML-N lawmaker Raja Zafarul Haq stressed that no one can stop Nawaz Sharif from retaining the party’s presidency. Marriyum Aurangzeb said the ex-PM’s narrative is gaining popularity among his supporters.

Judgement reserved

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. 

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.

Also Read: Never called anyone  Godfather  or  Sicilian Mafia  in Panama case: Justice Khosa

“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.

CJP led the three-member bench to hear the petitions. 

The approval of Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 had paved way for sacked premier Nawaz Sharif to become president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). It was passed from both houses of parliament despite the bone of contention being its Section 203 which allowed the ex-PM to hold office as PML-N president.

Top court disqualified Nawaz from premiership

In July 2017, the top court had disqualified Nawaz Sharif from premiership in connection with Panama Papers case under Article 62. The five-judge larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan unanimously announced the decision in courtroom No 1.

PM Nawaz is no more truthful and honest as he failed to prove his assets of 2013, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan told the packed courtroom.