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‘Convict’ Sharif barred from polls for life

Islamabad, December 24
Former premier Nawaz Sharif has been permanently disqualified from contesting any election or holding any public office because of his conviction in a hijacking case, Pakistan’s attorney general Malik Qayyum has said.

“He cannot contest any election for life. He is permanently disqualified,” said Qayyum, a close aide of President Pervez Musharraf.

Sharif and his brother, former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, have both been disqualified from contesting the January 8 general election.

While Sharif's nomination papers were rejected by poll officials for his conviction in 2000 on terrorism and hijacking charges, Shahbaz was barred from contesting because of his alleged involvement in the extra-judicial killing of five youths in 1998.

On Shahbaz’s eligibility, Qayyum said though he was not a convict, there were some cases pending against him.

The Sharif brothers approached the chief election commissioner twice, requesting him to review the decision of rejecting their nominations. But the CEC directed them to file appeals with the election tribunal.

The brothers refused to contact the tribunal, saying they would not file appeals before any forum comprising judges who endorsed the emergency imposed by President Musharraf last month and took oath under his provisional constitution order.

Political analysts say the Sharifs might take part in byelections after the January 8 polls. The two brothers have insisted they will stick to their “principled stand”. — PTI

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