Nawaz Sharif’s eligibility to contest the upcoming general election has been called into question once again as his nomination papers for NA-130 were challenged before the appellate tribunal.
Ishtiaq Chaudhry, the chief of Pakistan Awami Mahaz (PAM), has submitted a petition asserting that Nawaz’s lifetime disqualification by the Supreme Court makes him ineligible to run for the February 8 elections.
Chaudhry has urged the tribunal to declare Nawaz ineligible and reject his nomination papers, claiming that the returning officer approved them contrary to the facts. This legal challenge comes after RO Asghar Joya of NA-130 Lahore accepted Nawaz’s nomination papers on December 26, paving the way for his potential participation in the 2024 general election if he clears this latest hurdle.
The former prime minister’s return to the political landscape and his aspirations to contest in the 2024 general election have sparked a legal conundrum due to his previous disqualification by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.
The court’s ruling in July 2017 stated that Nawaz had been dishonest in his 2013 nomination papers, leading to his disqualification. Subsequently, he faced imprisonment in the Avenfield apartments and Al-Azizia references but was later acquitted in both cases by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
However, the contradiction between the judicial decision and parliamentary legislation regarding the duration of disqualification under Article 62 of the Constitution remains unresolved, and the Supreme Court is expected to address this issue before the 2024 general elections.