Pak PM Nawaz Sharif steps down as PM after SC’s disqualification verdict

The Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in a landmark decision on the Panama Papers case.

Shortly after, the PM House issued a notification saying that Nawaz Sharif, despite having reservations on the SC’s verdict, has stepped down from his post as the premier.

The decision brings Sharif’s third term in power to an unceremonious end, roughly one year before the scheduled general elections which would have seen him become the first Pakistani prime minister to complete a full five-year term. It is unclear at the moment who will be appointed to take over the post till the next general elections, which are scheduled for 2018.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has been asked to de-notify the prime minister from his National Assembly seat to fulfill the technicalities of implementing the order. The Supreme Court said the ECP should de-seat the PM for not disclosing his role in the Dubai-based Capital FZE company in his nomination papers, saying that this meant he was not ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who had headed the apex court’s implementation bench following its April 20 order on the Panama Papers case, announced that the larger bench had unanimously deemed PM Sharif unfit for holding office and would also order an accountability court to open references against him and his family.

The judges ruled that he had been dishonest to parliament and the courts, and could not be deemed fit for his office.

The judgement was announced shortly after 12:00pm.

Justice Khan said that the bench had recommended that all material collected by the joint investigation team (JIT) tasked with probing the Sharif family’s financial dealings would be sent to an accountability court within six weeks.

The bench said that on the basis of this information, cases would be opened against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar; MNA Captain Muhammad Safdar; Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz; as well as the premier.

A judgement on these references should be announced within six months, he said.

One judge will oversee the implementation of this order.

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