Nawaz can’t even hold party office

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 It was the darkest day for the political future of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday

The Supreme Court ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to denotify Nawaz Sharif from his office in a unanimous decision in the Panama Papers case on Friday.

Some political leaders, commentators and even a section of media were found inaccurately reporting that after disqualification as prime minister, Nawaz Sharif will still remain the head of PML-N, the largest party in the National Assembly, by ignoring the important legal fact that he has also become ineligible to hold any political office in his own party.

The Political Parties Order 2002 is very much clear about the aforementioned fact and its Sub Section 1 of the Section 5 categorically states that “a person shall not to be appointed or serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is not qualified to be, or is disqualified from being, elected or chosen as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) under Article 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or under any other law for the time being in force.”

When contacted, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Justice (r) Rasheed A Rizvi explained, “After judgment of the apex court, Nawaz Sharif has no legal grounds to remain in any of political office in his party as per the Political Parties Order 2002.” He said it was the duty of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to expel Nawaz Sharif from his party office as well and direct the PML-N to hold fresh intra-party election as per their constitution.

ECP former secretary Kanwar M Dilshad told Daily Times, “I have already given my view that Nawaz Sharif has no legal justification to hold party office anymore and election commission should issue a notification in this regard as well.”

“If ECP doesn’t acts against Nawaz Sharif, any citizen can approach the commission on the issue and then it will be legally bound to act upon his/her plea.”

The ECP has already issued a notification regarding disqualification of Nawaz Sharif from being a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) but is silent on his political office within his party so far.

When asked, ECP spokesman Haroon Khan said, “We have issued notification to de-seat Nawaz Sharif as per the directions of Supreme Court. The commission is also considering the point regarding his disqualification from the political office.”

Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry has also stressed upon the ECP to restrict Nawaz Sharif for holding party position. However, he avoided to categorically announce whether his party (PTI) will go for Nawaz Sharif’s removal from his party office as it struggled for his disqualification from the membership of National Assembly and office of the prime minister.