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Pakistan: SC clears Army-supported Nawaz’s return to power next month

Pakistan: SC clears Army-supported Nawaz’s return to power next month

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Virendra Pandit

 

New Delhi: The Pakistan Supreme Court on Monday scrapped the lifetime disqualification clause in the Constitution, paving the way for the possible return of three-time Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to power after the February 8 election to the National Assembly, the media reported.

The clause under Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution ended with the 6-1 majority verdict, which ruled that parliamentarians would from now on be barred from holding office only for five years under the law.

Only Justice Yahya Afridi dissented from the verdict.

With this fresh ruling, former PM Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified for life in the Panama Papers case, and Istehkam-i-Pakistan leader Jahangir Tareen, have both been ‘requalified’ and cleared to contest the elections.

On Friday last week, a seven-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, had reserved the verdict in the case.

With elections less than a month away, the SC sought to determine once and for all the raging debate on whether aspirants disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution could contest polls in light of the amendments in the Elections Act 2017.

Three-time Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif returned to the country in October 2023, ending four years of self-imposed exile in London, after he left the country for medical treatment while serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption.

 

His chief rival at present, former PM Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, is currently lodged in jail after conviction in the Toshakhana case, and his outfit, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), is all but disbanded, with its leaders on the run or behind bars and its candidates’ nominations rejected by the army-run election machinery.

 

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