Sharif challenges electoral commission’s decision to disqualify him from office

Ex-Pakistani PM Khan challenges disqualification from office

Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has challenged the electoral commission’s decision to disqualify him from office for defying the court order to step down.

“If the Supreme Court has given the verdict to disqualify Nawaz Sharif, then you should follow the verdict,” Sharif told cheering supporters as he arrived at the Punjab House parliament in Islamabad.

Sharif said he would seek a review against the decision. He said he had lost no popularity because he had decided to step down at the end of August.

He also reiterated that the court order had not been “impermissibly” delayed and criticised the court’s decision to stay his disqualification from contesting elections.

Sharif stepped down on August 21 just a few days from his return to the country as a Supreme Court judge.

He is not contesting elections but has appealed against the disqualification to the apex court.

The Supreme Court had ruled on August 29 to disqualify him from office in the cases relating to alleged irregularities in the Panama Papers case as well as reference of a news report which had wrongly implicated him in the case.

Sharif, who was disqualified for five years as prime minister, had appealed against his disqualification in February last year, and the apex court had asked the election commission to refer the matter to the Senate’s committee for a report.

He had argued that the court order was “legally incorrect and void” and that it was not “impermissibly delayed”.

The Supreme Court has asked the Election Commission to file its response on Sharif’s application against the electoral commission’s decision.

Sharif’s lawyer, Hussain Wasim, had argued that the allegations against the former prime minister were baseless and that the ruling was “illegal” and could not be challenged.

“In our application, we have made it very clear that the allegations levelled against the former PM are baseless and we do not have any other evidence against him except statements by people who wanted to harm him. We have made it very clear that our applications are based on the facts and not on hearsay or other documents,” he said.

Sharif had left for the US on August 19 after being slapped with the Supreme

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