Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who resigned after the court ruled he was unfit to hold office.
Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which has a majority in parliament, is expected to name a new prime minister to hold office until elections due next year.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Sharif, who served as premier on three separate occasions, should be disqualified after an investigative panel alleged his family could not account for its vast wealth.
“He is no more eligible to be an honest member of the parliament, and he ceases to be holding the office of prime minister,” Judge Ejaz Afzal Khan said in court.
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.
In a surprise move, the court ordered a criminal investigation into the assets of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, one of Sharif’s closest allies, who has been credited with steering the economy to its fastest pace of growth in a decade.
Prior to the decision, several cabinet ministers, including Sharif’s closest allies, said the ruling party would respect the Supreme Court’s verdict.
No Pakistani prime minister has completed a full term in power since independence from British colonial rule in 1947. 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.