ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over long-running corruption allegations, a highly anticipated decision that forces him out of office.
“He is disqualified as a member of the parliament so he has ceased to be holding the office of Prime Minister,” Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan told the packed courtroom.
The court also asked the national anti-corruption bureau to launch a further probe into the allegations against Sharif, which stem from the Panama Papers leak last year linking the premier’s family to lucrative offshore businesses.
No Pakistani prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term.
Most have seen their tenures cut short by the powerful military or interference from the Supreme Court. Others have been ousted by their own party, forced to resign — or been assassinated.
It is the second time in Pakistan’s 70-year history that the Supreme Court has disqualified a sitting prime minister.
In 2012 then-prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was disqualified over contempt of court charges for refusing to reopen a corruption case against the sitting president Asif Ali Zardari.
The Supreme Court’s unceremonious end to Sharif’s tenure represents a record third time he has been ousted as leader before completing his term.
In 1993 he was sacked by the then-president over graft allegations, while in 1999 he was ousted in a military coup.