pakistan supreme court lifts election ban nawaz sharif eligible for fourth prime ministerial run
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has overturned lifetime bans on individuals with criminal convictions from contesting elections. This opens the door for Nawaz Sharif who is a former Prime Minister, to run for the top position for a fourth time. The ban, instituted in 2018, was scrapped by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who led a panel of seven judges. He said that the lifetime bans violated citizens’ right to participate in elections.
The court’s decision was taken by 6 judges in favor and one against. This decision reverses the 2018 ruling that imposed permanent bans on politicians convicted under specific constitutional provisions. Nawaz Sharif, aged 74, faced a ban due to a 2017 conviction for dishonest practices, but the courts overturned the convictions last year.
Even though Sharif wasn’t a party to the recent case, the ruling makes him eligible to compete in the upcoming elections, scheduled for February 8. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), led by Sharif, is considered a front-runner in the elections, especially with his main rival, former Prime Minister Imran Khan, currently in jail and disqualified from contesting until 2028.
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PML-N leaders expressed gratitude for the end of what they called a “dark chapter of judicial injustice.” On the other hand, one of Khan’s lawyers lamented the decision, describing it as the “death of law and the constitution.” Imran Khan, whose party won the 2018 elections, won’t benefit from the ruling, as it only abolishes lifetime bans.
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Nawaz Sharif, ousted from the premiership in 2017 and convicted on corruption charges, spent time in jail before opting for self-imposed exile in London until October 2023. The court’s recent decision changed the political landscape in Pakistan. Let’s wait for election results.