Pakistan’s election body accepts Nawaz Sharif’s nomination papers for NA-130 Lahore – Times of India

LAHORE: Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif‘s nomination papers have been accepted by the Election Commission despite questions on his eligibility to contest the February 8 general elections in the wake of ‘life-long disqualification’ by the apex court.
“PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s nomination papers for NA-130 (National Assembly seat from Lahore) have been accepted by the Election Commission,” Sharif’s lawyer Amjad Pervez told reporters on Tuesday.
He said no objections to 73-year-old Sharif’s candidature have been raised.
“Nawaz Sharif will now contest both from Lahore and Mansahra city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said.
When asked whether Sharif was disqualified to contest polls for life time, Pervez said: “Sharif’s disqualification has ended after his acquittal in corruption references against him.”
All the leadership of the Sharif family — Sharif, his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and nephew Hamza Shehbaz — are mainly contesting from Lahore.
After his return to the country this October from London where he spent four years in self-exile on medical grounds, Sharif was acquitted in two major corruption cases — Avenfield Apartments and Al-Azizia Steel Mills — by the Islamabad High Court.
Barrister Zafarullah Khan said that Sharif can contest elections, citing an amendment to the Elections Act by the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government. That amendment to Section 232 of the Elections Act caps disqualifications at five years.
According to senior lawyer Raja Inam Ameen Minhas, the amended law cannot benefit Sharif since the legislature did not amend Section 232 retrospectively. He said since the amendment entails penal consequences, it cannot deal with the matter in the past.
“The law that deals with punishment cannot be applied retrospectively unless the legislature categorically gives this effect. The Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling says disqualification under Article 62(1f) of the Constitution is lifelong. This ruling directly impacts Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified under this provision,” he said.
Another senior lawyer Kashif Ali Malik said that the lifelong interpretation in the Elections Act cannot interpret, override or defeat constitutional provisions.
Sharif, the only Pakistani politician who became the prime minister of the coup-prone country for a record three times, has been receiving PM-designate protocol with the blessings of the military.
Jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s party alleges that under the ‘London Plan’ Sharif will be made the Prime Minister following the February 8 polls with the blessing of the military establishment under Army Chief Gen Asim Munir.

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