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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Pakistan Court Tosses Out Sharif Conviction

By VOA News
17 July 2009

Pakistan's Supreme Court has overturned a hijacking conviction against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, clearing the way for the popular politician to run for public office again.

Sharif was found guilty of "hijacking" then army chief Pervez Musharraf's plane, by not allowing it to land in October of 1999. The plane eventually landed and Mr. Musharraf seized control of Pakistan in a coup, later becoming president. Mr. Sharif went into exile.

The high court on Friday acquitted Mr. Sharif, saying the charges of hijacking and terrorism do not stand. A spokesman for former prime minister Sadiqul Farooq hailed the ruling.

In May, the Supreme Court overturned a ban on Mr. Sharif seeking office. The former prime minister's party (Pakistan Muslim League - N) came in second during last year's parliamentary elections. The party was once part of a ruling coalition, but later moved to the opposition.

Mr. Sharif met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Lahore Friday.

Mr. Sharif was barred from holding office following the 1999 conviction. A high court decision in February to uphold the ban and nullify the election of his brother Shahbaz as chief minister of Punjab province sparked massive protests.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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