The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday issued its detailed judgement in the Election Amendment Act 2017 case, ruling that a person who is disqualified to be king can not be given a free hand to operate as a kingmaker.
The 51-page-long decision was authored by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and signed by two other judges.
The detailed judgement establishes that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as the head of a political party.
In the judgement, it is observed with reference to Nawaz Sharif that "a leader who himself is incompetent to hold any [public] office is pulling the strings of lawmakers like a puppet master; this is tantamount to mocking the judicial system, the constitution, the government and the values which these institutions uphold."
The judges also take the opportunity to clarify that news regarding the Panama Papers case was covered by international media and information regarding the offshore companies owned by different global personalities was brought to light.
It was only then that the names of Nawaz Sharif and his children came into the limelight, the judges recall.
Sharif was declared unfit to hold the prime minister's office following the Panama Papers' case hearing and subsequently he was "also removed from the party leader position".
Before the approval of the Election Amendment Act 2017, a person declared unfit to hold public office was also incapable of being a member of any political party.
Commenting on the law's passage, Paragraph 53 of the judgement reads: "To hold that a person who is disqualified to be king can nevertheless be given a free hand to operate as a kingmaker, who may despite lacking qualification and without going through the electoral process, act as a puppet master pull the strings and exercise political power vicariously would amount to making a complete mockery of the Constitution, the legislative process, the law, the government and values that we hold so dear and have consciously worked for, defended and incorporated in the Constitution. It is a cardinal principle of law and justice that what cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly."
The apex court's verdict was in response to 17 petitions challenging the controversial Elections Act 2017, which had been bulldozed through parliament last year to pave the way for Nawaz Sharif's return to the PML-N's helm as party president.