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Sharif disqualified from by-election

Latest update : 2008-06-24

A Pakistani court has disqualified opposition leader Nawaz Sharif from this week's by-election. Sharif had been previously barred from contesting February's general election due to former convictions but was allowed to stand for this vote.

A Pakistani court on Monday barred former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, one of the leaders of the ruling coalition, from contesting a by-election on Thursday.
  
Sharif and his younger brother were not allowed to take part in February's general elections due to criminal convictions dating back to a 1999 coup in which he was ousted from power.
  
Sharif's rival candidates in the by-election had argued that loan defaulters and people convicted of criminal charges could not contest elections.
  
The Lahore High Court accepted their case.
  
"Nawaz Sharif is not a qualified candidate to contest a by-election," an order issued by the court said.
  
His brother's case was referred to the chief election commissioner.
  
The court said Sharif's brother, Shahbaz, could continue as chief minister until a final decision on the case was made.
  
"It is a political decision and we reject it. It is a conspiracy against democracy," Siddiqul Farooq, a spokesman for Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N party told AFP.
  
The judges who gave the ruling were appointed by President Pervez Musharraf after he sacked dozens of judges under emergency rule.
  
"They are implementing Musharraf's agenda," senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal told private Geo television.
  
"We will not go before the supreme court in appeal, because we do not accept it as a valid court because the judges there have taken oath of allegiance to Musharraf and not the constitution," Iqbal said.
  
Musharraf toppled Sharif in the 1999 coup and sent him and his family into exile in Saudi Arabia.
  
Sharif's party has joined forces with slain former premier Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, which won the most seats in the February polls, in which Musharraf's allies were trounced.
  
Sharif, a two-time prime minister, has refused to appear before Musharraf-appointed judges.
  
His party wants to reinstate the judges sacked by Musharraf.

Date created : 2008-06-23

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