Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Disqualified

On Friday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court gave the order of removal of the current Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, from office due to accusations of corruptions. This is a historic ruling, which is going to impact the tumultuous political balance of the country and is also going to deal a major blow to the legacy of the man who defined the past generation of the country’s politics.

Mr. Sharif was serving his third term in the office and his removal comes almost a year before his current term was to end. After this verdict, it is now the job of The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the governing political party, has to select an interim prime minister for replacing Mr. Sharif until mid-2018, when the next general elections will be held.

The verdict was announced by the five-member Supreme Court and puts an end to more than a year of breathless court proceedings, high political drama and an in-depth investigation into the finances of the Sharif clan. The powerful military of the country, which has decided the fate of civilian governments in the past, watched the courtroom drama unfold.

There was speculation that some powerful generals were backing the court decisions, at least tacitly if not overtly. Disclosures made in the Panama Papers last year were the reason why the charges against the Sharif family were brought forward.

The Panama Papers revealed Mr. Sharif’s three children, two sons and a daughter, were the owners of expensive residential property in London through a number of offshore companies. The justices delivered a unanimous verdict on Friday and it was declared that Mr. Sharif couldn’t be called ‘honest’, which meant that he was ‘disqualified’ from being a part of the Parliament. They also ordered that criminal investigations be launched against the members of the Sharif family.

The campaign against Mr. Sharif has been spearheaded by the opposition politician, Imran Khan, since Mr. Sharif took office in 2013. The removal of the prime minister will benefit him the most. Mr. Khan has headed the charge against Mr. Sharif almost obsessively and he rallied a great portion of the public against him through court petitions and street agitation.

The members of the Sharif family had been ordered by the Supreme Court to present a paper trail of the money used for purchases of their properties in London. Investigators discovered that the family was living ‘beyond their means’. Mr. Sharif’s family and their lawyers were unable to provide satisfactory and suitable documentation, even after repeated court exhortations.

A number of documents they provided where declared insufficient or fake.