By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan’s apex court has disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office following an investigation into corruption allegations.
The verdict comes after a probe by Joint Investigation Team into his family’s wealth following the 2015 Panama Papers Leaks that disclosed Nawaz Sharif’s sons and daughter’s offshore companies.
The verdict was given unanimously by a five-member bench in the Supreme Court.
The court was filled to capacity on Friday, and there was heightened security in the capital, thousands of troops and police deployed in the red zone of Islamabad.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, estranged with Prime Minister for several months, had earlier advised Nawaz Sharif to accept Friday’s verdict with magnanimity.
The court has recommended anti-corruption cases against several individuals, including Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and her husband captain (rtd) Safdar, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and others.
Following the verdict, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been removed from the office and his cabinet stands dissolved. President Mamnoon Hussain will summon the session of the national assembly, the lower house of the parliament for the selection of new leader of the house or the Prime Minister.
True to Pakistan’s political traditions no civilian prime minister has ever completed a five-year term. However, governments of Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) during the tenure of General Pervez Musharraf and later Pakistan People’s Party were able to complete five year term.
Nawaz Sharif, who was serving as prime minister for a record third time, was 10 months away from becoming the first to complete a full term in office.
Pakistan’s major opposition party , Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf is celebrating the verdict , calling it historic whereas the activists of ruling Muslim League are staging protests in different cities , mainly Nawaz Sharif’s home city, Lahore.