Islamabad, Pakistan - Pakistan’s Supreme Court has disqualified former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, dismissed from his post over corruption allegations last year, from holding public office for life.
A five-member bench of the country’s apex court unanimously ruled on Friday that anyone disqualified under a constitutional clause requiring legislators to be “honest and trustworthy” would be considered banned for life.
Sharif was dismissed from office as prime minister in July of last year, in a case lodged over disclosures in the Panama Papers leak, but which ultimately hinged on allegations that he had failed to declare a salary from his son’s UAE-based company.
Sharif says that he never received the salary, and that he held a position within that company in order to maintain a valid business visa in the Gulf state. The Supreme Court ruled that whether he received the salary or not was immaterial.
The three-time prime minister and three of his children continue to face trial for corruption charges in a National Accountability Bureau court, which is due to deliver a verdict in the coming weeks.
Pakistan is due to hold a general election in July.
Sharif’s PML-N, which continues to hold a strong majority in parliament, termed the decision an attack on democracy.
“This is an accusation on which a sitting prime minister was disqualified, the trial is ongoing and ... no accusation has yet been proven,” said State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, speaking to reporters shortly after the verdict was announced. “Yet, he has been banned for life.”
“Pakistan is fighting the case for democracy, and Nawaz Sharif will take this to its final conclusion.”