Pakistan's Supreme Court lifts lifetime ban on convicted politicians, clearing path for Nawaz Sharif

  • Pakistan’s Supreme Court has lifted a lifetime ban on politicians with convictions from participating in elections.
  • The court ruling, applied on Monday, permits former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other convicted politicians to run in upcoming elections.
  • Under the new order, convicted politicians are now barred from running for only five years instead of a lifetime.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday scrapped a lifetime ban on politicians with convictions from contesting elections, paving the way for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to run for the fourth time.

The court ruling will also enable other politicians to run for parliament in the Feb. 8 elections.

The lifetime ban on convicted politicians was imposed in 2018. Under a new court order passed on Monday, convicted politicians would be barred from running only for five years.

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Sharif’s party said he will seek a fourth term after returning in October from a four-year self-exile in London to avoid serving prison sentences on corruption charges. They were overturned on appeal after his return.

Nawaz Sharif waves to supporters

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves to his supporters upon his arrival to address a welcoming rally, in Lahore, Pakistan, on Oct. 21, 2023. A Pakistani court on Dec. 12 overturned the 2018 conviction of former Prime Minister Sharif in a graft case and acquitted him, clearing his path to run in the parliamentary elections set to be held in February. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed, File)

Sharif stepped down as prime minister in 2017 over the corruption charges. His main rival, Imran Khan, is currently serving a prison term, but he too has announced plans to run next month.

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Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April 2022, but he remains a leading figure and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has a large following.

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