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Pakistan election commission refuses Sharif eligibility appeal

[JURIST] The Election Commission of Pakistan [official website] has refused to consider an appeal by former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif against an earlier ruling [JURIST report] declaring him ineligible to run in January 8 parliamentary elections [JURIST news archive], Pakistani media reported Tuesday, quoting a commission spokesman. The basis for the appeal's rejection was not immediately made public, but the original ruling cited a 2000 criminal conviction of Sharif arising out of circumstances surrounding the 1999 coup against him led by then General and now Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan's Daily Times, quoting unnamed sources, later reported that the appeal had not been presented to the proper tribunals and had become time-barred. Sharif's PML-N party [party website] denounced the decision to bar its leader as politically motivated. AP has more. The Daily Times has local coverage.

Sharif originally said he and his party would boycott the vote, but later changed his mind after he was unable to get rival opposition leader and ex-PM Benazir Bhutto, head of the Pakistan People's Party, to join in. He, moreso than Bhutto, has pressed the case for reinstating Pakistan's superior court judges effectively ousted by Musharraf by virtue of his of his November 3 declaration of emergency rule. It is as yet unclear how Sharif's personal sidelining will affect the political viability of that issue.

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