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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pakistan Court Lifts Ban on Politician -Jane Perlez

A five-member bench of the court appointed by the newly restored chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, suspended a ruling last month that was widely interpreted as a political decision by President Asif Ali Zardari to bar his political opponents, Mr. Sharif and his brother, Nawaz, from challenging him.

Although the Supreme Court did not rule on the future of Nawaz Sharif, who twice served as prime minister, political commentators said they expected the court to do so and clear the way for him to stand for election in the future.

In the February ruling, the Supreme Court said the Sharif brothers were ineligible to seek or hold office because of criminal convictions. Nawaz Sharif was convicted of hijacking a Pakistani airliner in October 1999 when he denied landing rights to an aircraft returning Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the army chief at the time, from a trip abroad. The aircraft landed anyway and Mr. Musharraf ousted Mr. Sharif in a coup.


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