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Nawaz Sharif says SC deposing him as PML-N chief an effort to oust him from politics

Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as prime minister by the apex court in July last year under Article 62 for failing to declare a receivable salary as an asset. On Wednesday, he was disqualified to lead the ruling PML-N party.

world Updated: Feb 22, 2018 19:45 IST

Press Trust of India, Islamabad
Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif.(AP File Photo)

Pakistan’s deposed premier Nawaz Sharif on Thursday alleged that efforts were being made to “oust” him from politics for life, a day after he was disqualified by the Supreme Court from leading his party.

Sharif spoke to the media after appearing before the accountability court in Islamabad where he is being tried for alleged corruption in the Panama Papers case.

“This decision (disqualification from leading a party) is not unexpected for me. First, they paralysed the executive and yesterday they snatched the powers of parliament,” he said.

He did not specify who he meant by “they” but apparently it was a reference to the judges of the top court.

Sharif, 68, was disqualified as prime minister by the apex court in July last year under Article 62 for failing to declare a receivable salary as an asset.

He said the decision was a continuation of the apex court verdict of July 28 when he was sacked as prime minister, and added that “deliberations were being made to oust him from politics for life”.

“In the decision of July 28 my premiership was snatched. In the decision of yesterday the post of president of Pakistan Muslim League (N) was snatched...My name is Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. If you want to snatch this name from me, go ahead and take it away,” he said.

He criticised the decision of the court which said the Election Act 2017 was “person-specific” to facilitate Sharif to lead his party, adding that “decisions of the Supreme Court are Nawaz Sharif-specific”.

“These decisions are being given in anger and smack of vengeance,” he said.

Sharif appeared in court accompanied by daughter Maryam and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar, who are co-accused in one of the three cases.

It was his 18th appearance in the court.

The court reserved judgment on objections by Sharif about supplementary references by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and postponed the hearing until this afternoon.

It also decided to record statements of two UK-based witnesses via video link.

Later, Sharif consulted his party leaders during a high-level meeting about the implications of the decision and appointing a new president of the PML-N.

The party issued new party tickets to candidates for the upcoming Senate polls since the apex court’s ruling declared all decisions taken under Sharif’s leadership as “null and void”.

Tickets have been awarded by party chairman Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, who, along with other party leaders, visited the Election Commission and submitted papers of party candidates for the Senate elections.

Haq also said that the PML-N chairman and president had discretion to issue party tickets.

Analysts say that PML-N-supported candidates might be barred from taking part in Senate elections on March 3 as their nomination had been declared illegal by the apex court.

Next in line

Sources said Sharif’s ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz and his younger brother Shahbaz were favourites to get the coveted post of PML-N president.

Some party leaders favour Yaqoob Nasir or Raja Zafarul Haq as interim president before settling on a permanent choice, according to sources.

Earlier, when Sharif stepped down as prime minister and PML-N chief after his disqualification by the Supreme Court, Nasir had been appointed as interim president of the party.

Sharif later on took over leadership of party after Election Law 2017 removed the disqualification bar to become head of a political party.

Sharif was given a warm welcome when he arrived at the Punjab House to participate in the meeting.

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 18:29 IST

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