Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified by the country's Supreme Court on Friday over long-running corruption allegations, a highly anticipated decision that forces him out of office. It is the second time in Pakistan's 70-year history that the Supreme Court has disqualified a sitting prime minister.
"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 said in the packed courtroom.
Pakistan Supreme Court also asked the national anti-corruption bureau to launch an investigation into the allegations against Sharif. The allegations stem from the Panama Papers leak last year linking the premier's family to lucrative offshore businesses.
Till date, no Pakistani prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term. The powerful military or interference from the Supreme Court has cut short the tenures of most of them. While, others have been ousted by their own party, forced to resign or were assassinated.
In 2012, then-prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was disqualified by the Supreme Court over contempt of court charges for refusing to reopen a corruption case against the sitting president Asif Ali Zardari.
This unceremonious end to Sharif's tenure represents a record third time when he has been ousted as leader before completing his term. In 1993, he was sacked by the then-president over graft allegations, while again in 1999 he was ousted in a military coup.