Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will have to step down as the result of a corruption case, the country's Supreme Court ruled today as five judges unanimously disqualified him.
In April, The Supreme Court had declared that there was an "insufficient evidence" to oust Sharif over the graft allegations engulfing his family, and ordered an investigation team to probe the matter. The team of civilian and military investigators found there was a "significant disparity" between the Sharif family's income and lifestyle in its report submitted to the court earlier this month.
The claim is been rejected consistently and noisily by the Sharifs and their allies, with his ruling PML-N party this month dismissing the investigation team's report as "trash".
Once before the Sharif has been ousted by graft allegations, during the first of his three terms as prime minister in 1993.
He has not yet completed a term as prime minister, having been toppled in his second term by a military coup in 1999.
The controversy erupted last year with the publication of 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca documenting the offshore dealings of many of the world's rich and powerful.
Maryam, his presumptive political heir, and his sons Hasan and Hussein -- were implicated in the papers, three of Sharif's four children.
The legitimacy of the funds is the heart of the case used by the Sharif family to purchase several high-end London properties via offshore companies.
The allegations are a blow to his credibility ahead of general elections due to be held by next year, and as the civilian government appears to have reached an uneasy detente with the military, which has ruled Pakistan for half of its existence.
His party currently has no clear successor in place. Daughter Maryam does not hold public office, while his brother Shahbaz Sharif, the current chief minister of Punjab province, holds only a provincial seat.