Pakistan's prime minister forced from office

Unconstitutional ouster of PM to create instability: Hanif Abbasi

He hails from a political family that has always been associated with Sharif's party.

Sharif's ruling PML-N party confirmed he had "relinquished his position". "Prime Minister has been disqualified from his post", said Justice Ijaz Afzal who authored the decision.

Following the judgment, the Pakistan Cabinet stands dissolved.

Zafar Ullah, another leader from Sharif's party, says the allegations against the prime minister were baseless.

Reports also claim that Pakistan's finance minister, Ishaq Dar, has received punishment from the Supreme Court, after the release of documents to the court about how the Sharif's family became wealthy.

The prime minister's fall follows revelations in the so-called "Panama Papers" a year ago, which revealed Sharif's family had bought posh London apartments through offshore companies.

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A spokesman for Sharif said the premier has stepped down despite having reservations about the court order that disqualified him from serving. The leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca had revealed that three of his children - his sons Hassan and Hussain Sharif and his daughter Maryam Sharif - owned offshore companies and undisclosed assets, including four expensive flats in Park Lane, London.

Sharif's ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which has a majority in parliament, is expected to name a new prime minister to hold office until elections due next year.

Sharif critics are using the press conference to portray that demise of PML-N had started even before the court verdict. That conclusion was sufficient for the court to disqualify Mr. Sharif from his office under the terms of Pakistan's constitution.

"Since 1947 till date, not one Prime Minister of Pakistan has completed the five-year tenure".

The National Accountability Bureau has been ordered to complete investigations within six weeks. In 2012, the court convicted the then-Premier Yusuf Raza Gilani in a contempt case, forcing him to step down. Sharif had been warning that his ouster would destabilize Pakistan at a time when the economy was rebounding after a decade of chaos.

In a historic ruling, all five members of a high court bench voted to disqualify Sharif from office, reinforcing its previous findings that the prime minister had lied to the nation about his family's wealth and financial dealings. His second term from 1997 was ended in 1999 by Army chief Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless coup.

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