Pakistani court acquits Nawaz Sharif’s brother

March 1st, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Nawaz Sharif
Islamabad, March 1 (DPA) A Pakistani court Saturday acquitted the brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a fake shootout, clearing the way for him to contest a by-election, his lawyer said. Five terrorism suspects were killed in the police encounter that the victims’ families claimed was unlawfully ordered by Shahbaz Sharif during his 1997-99 tenure as the chief minister of Pakistan’s central province of Punjab.

The case became the main reason for Shahbaz’s disqualification from the Feb 18 elections where his brother’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz emerged as the runner up. Shahbaz has denied the allegations over the years, saying these were politically motivated.

“The anti-terrorism court in Lahore dismissed the case after the complainant, Mohammed Saeedudin, withdrew the charges,” said Shabaz’s lawyer, Khwaja Haris.

The judgement has paved the way for Shabaz to contest the by-elections, to be held within coming weeks, and perhaps become chief minister in country’s largest Punjab province, where their party won the elections.

Shabaz’s brother Nawaz Sharif was also barred from the polls owing to his conviction for ordering in 1998 to delay the landing of a commercial plane carrying the then army chief Pervez Musharraf, who ousted him in a military coup hours later.

The Sharifs have formed a coalition with the slain ex-premier Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party to constitute the new government.

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