Pakistan’s Supreme Court effectively ended the political career of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday, voting unanimously to ban him for life from holding any public office. The verdict plunges Pakistan into more political instability in the lead up to elections, expected this summer.
The ruling by the five-judge panel cited an article in Pakistan’s constitution that requires members of parliament to be “honest and righteous.”
Opponents of the verdict said it was a dangerous overstep by the Supreme Court to ban Sharif for life.
The Dawn newspaper quoted Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar as remarking from the bench that the verdict was handed down because the public deserves “leaders of good character.”
The decision comes after the Supreme Court forced Sharif, 68, to resign as prime minister in July amid a corruption scandal triggered by the leak of the Panama Papers. The explosive documents showed that the Sharif family had used offshore companies to acquire expensive real estate in London and…