Pakistan government appeals against Sharif’s election ban

June 25th, 2008 - 3:59 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Nawaz Sharif
Islamabad, June 25 (DPA) Pakistan’s coalition government Wednesday challenged a court verdict that barred former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from running in Thursday’s by-election, a senior federal attorney said. A high court in the Punjab province capital Lahore Monday disqualified Sharif from contesting the vote because he had been convicted of terrorism charges after his abortive attempt in 1999 to sack President Pervez Musharraf, the then military chief.

Musharraf toppled Sharif in a bloodless military coup and sent him into exile to Saudi Arabia in 2000 after granting him a controversial pardon.

Sharif staged a comeback last November as Pakistan prepared to hold general elections amid Musharraf’s plummeting popularity.

“The federation has filed a petition in the Supreme Court for a stay of execution against the Lahore High Court ruling that debarred Nawaz Sharif from contesting the by-election,” Deputy Attorney General Raja Abdur Rehman told reporters in Islamabad.

The petition disputes the jurisdiction of the high court to take up election challenges, with the argument that only an election tribunal is authorised to hear such cases.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, who belongs to slain Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Tuesday told a parliamentary session that the federal government would appeal against the high court decision, as it went against the public sentiment.

The PPP formed a coalition government with Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as the main coalition partner after routing Musharraf’s political allies in the February 18 general election.

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