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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Nawaz Sharif called “Laadla”: SC Lifts Lifetime Disqualification

Supreme Court overturns lifetime disqualification, paving the way for key political figures, including Nawaz Sharif to participate in upcoming elections.

The Supreme Court (SC) announced on Monday the end of lifetime disqualification for lawmakers, revealing a majority verdict of 6-1. The decision, which was reserved last week, was delivered by a seven-member larger bench, including Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, and Justice Musarrat Hilali.

Justice Yahya Afridi stood as the sole dissenter in the reserved verdict. The petitions prompting the decision had sought clarification on whether the disqualification period was lifetime or five years.

CJP Isa, during the hearings, emphasized that the perception of lifetime disqualification under Article 62(1)(F) was based on an individual’s judgment rather than a constitutional mandate. He expressed determination to provide clarity on whether lawmakers should face a lifetime or five-year disqualification to avoid confusion, especially for returning officers ahead of the scheduled general elections on February 8.

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The proceedings were broadcast live on the Supreme Court’s website and YouTube channel.

Following the verdict, Nawaz Sharif, the leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), who was disqualified for life in 2017 under Article 62(1)(F), has been cleared to contest the upcoming elections. The legal landscape changed when, in the previous government led by Shehbaz Sharif, amendments were made to the Elections Act 2017, limiting the disqualification of lawmakers to five years.

Justice Yahya Afridi dissented from the majority decision. The court also declared the verdict in the Samiulla Baloch case void, emphasizing that parliamentarians could face a five-year disqualification under the law.

Nawaz Sharif, previously disqualified due to corruption cases, is now eligible to participate in the upcoming general election. PMLN is celebrating the verdict while many activists and analysts are calling Nawaz Sharif “laadla”.