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Pakistan's ex-PM Nawaz Sharif can contest election: Commission

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, June 1, IRNA
Pakistan-Sharif elections
Pakistan's Election Commission on Sunday allowed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to contest a seat in Parliament, the Commission said.

A two-member election tribunal failed yesterday to degree on whether Mr Sharif can take part in election as one judge backing Sharif and the other opposing him.

The commission also allowed Shehbaz Sharif, younger brother of Nawaz Sharif to contest a provincial assembly seat.

Nawaz Sharif, who was banned from taking part in February elections because of criminal convictions, had filed papers to take part in the by-elections, due later this month.

By-election for seats left vacant either because a candidate died or because a politician won in more than one constituency are planned this month.

Nawaz Sharif has filed nomination papers to contest on a National Assembly seat from the city of Lahore, the capital of eastern Punjab province.

Nomination papers of Nawaz Sharif were challenged on the plea that he was convicted by courts on variety of charges after he was sacked by former General Pervez Musharraf in 1999.

Sharif had refused to fight the case in the court as he was saying not to appear before those judges who had taken oath under an interim order issued by President Musharraf when he proclaimed emergency in November.

Both Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz, had filed nomination papers to run in the by election.

Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party captured the second most number of votes in the February 18 parliamentary elections and has also formed government in the country's biggest Punjab province.

PML-N quit the coalition with slain leader Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) after the PPP did not agree to restore the Chief Justice and 60 other top judges removed by President Musharraf in emergency rule.

Sharif had been accused President Musharraf of trying to block his entry into the parliament.

In December, the country's electoral commission rejected his application to take part in February 18 parliamentary races. As its reason, the commission cited Sharif's criminal record that dates back to the late 1990s.

The two-member bench of high court judges was supposed to deliver verdict on Saturday if Sharif be allowed to stand in the election. But the judges divided and the matter was referred to the Chief Election Commissioner.

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