The Supreme Court of Pakistan on April 13, 2018 ruled that disqualification of a lawmaker under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution would be for lifetime.
The verdict was delivered unanimously by a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar. It came against cases involving determination of time duration for disqualification of a lawmaker under the Constitution.
The judgment stated that under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution “a person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, honest and amen and there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law.”
The five-member bench unanimously observed that such a restriction would be fair in a democratic set up. The court stated that the absence of a time limit for the ineligibility of a candidate for election in Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution is the basis for holding his incapacity to be incurable by efflux of time.
• The court’s current ruling has dashed the hopes of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of returning to power, ahead of general elections that are due this year.
• The three-time PM was ousted from power in July 2017 by the judiciary under Article 62 (1) (f) of the constitution over corruption charges in the Panama Papers Case.
• Both Sharif and former Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf secretary general Jahangir Tareen had been barred from holding a public office.
• The disqualification handed to them would now be for life.
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• The Supreme Court in its ruling on July 28, 2017 had disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the President of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) under Article 62 of the constitution.
• Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen was disqualified on December 15, 2017 by a separate bench of the apex court under the same provision.
• On February 14, 2018, a five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah had reserved its verdict in the case regarding duration of the disqualification of the members of the parliament incurred under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. The verdict was reserved after Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf completed his arguments.
• The court’s current ruling addressed an uncertainty over Sharif's disqualification that whether he was barred from office for life or a specific period.
• Following the verdict, both Sharif and Tareen have been barred from holding a public office for life