Pakistan’s prime minister faces a criminal trial after the country’s supreme court removed removed him from power over a string of corruption allegations.
Nawaz Sharif officially resigned from the post after being “disqualified from holding office” in a unanimous verdict by a five-judge panel as the result of an investigation into his family wealth and assets, cutting short his third tenure in power.
The speaker of the National Assembly, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, will assume the responsibility of the interim prime minister, according to reports in Pakistan.
The supreme court dismissed Mr Sharif after the judicial panel said his family could not account for its finances and opulent purchases of houses in the UK.
The court also ordered a criminal investigation against the prime minister and his family.
“Having furnished a false declaration under solvent information, Mian Nawaz Sharif is not honest”, judge Ejaz Afzal Khan said in court.
“He is no more eligible to be an honest member of the parliament and he ceases to be holding the office of prime minister.”
Mr Sharif, 67, has always denied any wrongdoing and rejected graft claims as “trash”, with his ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Party dismissing the investigation as politically motivated.
Mr Sharif and his allies have always alleged there was a conspiracy to unseat him.
His two previous stints in power were also cut short, including by a military coup in 1999, but he came back from exile to win a resounding victory in the 2013 general elections.
The move to dismiss Mr Sharif threatens fresh political turmoil after a period of relative stability in Pakistan, where no prime minister has completed a full term in power since independence from British colonial rule in 1947.