Pakistan’s supreme court on Friday found Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif guilty in the Panama Papers case and unanimously disqualified him from holding public office in a unanimous verdict.
Shortly after the landmark verdict , the PM stepped down from his post “despite reservations”, according to the PM house. The Pakistan supreme court also ordered a case be filed against Sharif.
The attorney general of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali clarified that prime minister Sharif still holds the office, “and will continue to do so until the president asks him otherwise”, said Dawn.
According to Times of India news report, Under Article 190 of the Constitution, it is the president’s prerogative to decide whether a sitting prime minister should be asked to step down or not.
In its decision, the Pakistan supreme court had specifically asked the president to “ensure a smooth transition for the democratic process.”
However, “Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified for life,” said Pakistan’s attorney general Ausaf.
This is the third time Sharif has been unable to complete his term in the chief executive’s office, said Dawn newspaper. It is unclear who will be appointed to take over as Pakistan’s prime minister. The next general elections are scheduled for 2018.
Also disqualified from his position is Pakistan’s finance Minister Ishaq Dar, reported Nation newspaper.
The verdict was pronounced in courtroom number 1 by a five-judge bench.
The election commission of Pakistan (ECP) has been asked to de-notify the prime minister so that the technicalities of implementing the supreme court order are fulfilled. The supreme court said the ECP needs to de-seat the PM for not disclosing his role in a Dubai-based company called Capital FZE, when he filed his nomination papers for the general elections.
A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa announced the decision and ordered a fresh investigation into the Sharif family’s wealth by the National Accountability Bureau, reported Nation.
Khosa is the same judge who commenced his dissenting note in the April 20 judgement with a quote from Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather, reported Dawn newspaper. At that time, he declared Sharif ‘disqualified’ for not being honest to the nation.
Earlier, a six-member joint investigation team formed by the Supreme Court, after its two-month investigation, declared the Sharif’s family’s wealth was far above their earnings.