Pakistan's Premier Multilingual News Agency

Supreme court verdict nullifies lifetime disqualification for lawmakers

Islamabad, 8 January, 2024 (GNP): In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court, with a 6-1 majority verdict, overturned the lifetime disqualification for lawmakers under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.

This ruling has enabled politicians like Nawaz Sharif of the PML-N and Jahangir Tareen from the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party to contest upcoming general elections.

The apex court’s ruling reversed its 2018 judgment in the Samiullah Baloch case, which previously established that disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) was permanent. Key takeaways from this significant verdict include:

  • Article Interpretation: A 6-1 majority considered Article 62(1)(f) non-self-executing without specific disqualification procedures and declared the lifetime disqualification interpretation beyond the article’s scope.
  • Elections Act 2023: The court acknowledged the Elections (Amendment) Act 2023, setting a five-year disqualification period, permitting individuals previously disqualified to contest elections.
  • Nawaz and Tareen Clearance: As a result of this ruling, Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen are now cleared to participate in elections.

The court’s decision recognized the absence of a law outlining the procedures and the court of law responsible for the declaration mentioned in Article 62(1)(f).

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Until such legislation is enacted, the article serves as a guideline for voters exercising their voting rights.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Yahya Afridi supported the 2018 judgment, affirming its legal validity and asserting the disqualification’s effectiveness during the period declared by a court of law.

Political reactions to the verdict varied. PML-N leaders applauded the decision, considering it a victory for truth and Pakistan’s history.

The PML-N President, Shehbaz Sharif, hailed it as historic, ending the conspiracy to disqualify Nawaz Sharif for life. In contrast, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari welcomed the decision as a good development for democracy.