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Ex-Pakistan PM Bhutto candidacy challenged by Musharraf party loyalist

[JURIST] A legal challenge has been filed to the eligibility of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [personal website; JURIST news archive] as a candidate in the upcoming January parliamentary election, an Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) [official website] official said Friday. The challenge, filed by a Bhutto rival from President Pervez Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) [party website], says that Bhutto cannot run in the election because she has been convicted of corruption in the past. The ECP is expected to rule on Bhutto's eligibility before December 10, and will issue a final approved list of parliamentary candidates on December 16.

On Monday, the ECP ruled that former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile] cannot run as a candidate because of a 2000 criminal conviction. Sharif was convicted for his involvement in an attempt to prevent a plane carrying then army chief and current President Pervez Musharraf [JURIST news archive] from landing in Pakistan during Musharraf's 1999 coup against Sharif's civilian government. Pakistani lawyers' groups have urged a boycott [JURIST report] of the upcoming vote on the grounds that transparent and fair elections are impossible given the state of emergency rule [JURIST news archive] in Pakistan. Xinhua has more.

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