In a verdict that has brought down curtains on former Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif’s political career, the Supreme Court on Friday ruled that disqualification of any member of parliament or a public servant under Article 62 was for life, Dawn reported. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from holding office by a five-judge Supreme Court bench last July in the Panama Papers case under Article 62(1)(f), which sets the precondition for an MP to be “sadiq and ameen” (honest and righteous). Sharif was found to be involved in money laundering in 1990s, when he twice served as the PM, to purchase assets in London.
A five-judge bench ─ headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah ─ had on February 14 reserved the judgment on 17 appeals and petitions challenging the length of disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) for possessing fake degrees.
Friday’s ruling addresses an ambiguity over Sharif’s disqualification and whether he was barred from office for life or a specific period. The ruling also applies to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen, who was disqualified on December 15 last year under the same provision.
During the hearing of the case, Sharif had contended that disqualification under Article 62 “is confined only to the election in question and not perpetual”. However, the opposite party had strongly argued that the disqualification under Article 62 (1) (f) of the constitution should be lifelong. Interestingly, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali had said no duration of disqualification was laid down in the Constitution and hence, only the Parliament had the power to determine the time of duration. “A declaration under Article 62(1)(f) does not carry a time limit, nor does it prescribe the mechanism for revisiting such a declaration. Therefore, till such time the parliament makes such provisions, the declaration shall continue,” the AG said, according to Dawn.
Sharif, his children, his son-in-law Safdar and former finance minister Ishaq Dar are currently being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau over money laundering and other corruption charges.