Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigned Friday, hours after the country’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled to disqualify him from elected office, a move that is likely to spark political uncertainty in the South Asian country that has struggled with democracy for nearly seven decades.
The court ruled Sharif “is not honest … [and] therefore, he is disqualified to be a Member of” parliament,” and, consequently, the Prime Minister of Pakistan. In Pakistan’s parliamentary system, the leader of the largest party in parliament is elected prime minister. Sharif said Friday that despite his “strong” reservations” at the verdict, he would abide by the court’s decision. A spokesman for his Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party said the bloc would use all legal methods to challenge the decision.
The court’s decision was linked to the revelations in the Panama Papers, the documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca, the Panamian law firm, in 2016. The documents alleged that three of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s four children—Maryam Safdar, Hasan Nawaz, and Hussain Nawaz Sharif—used shell companies to buy property in London. Sharif, whose party was democratically elected in 2013, has denied any wrongdoing.