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Pakistan election officials bar candidacy of ex-PM Sharif citing criminal conviction

[JURIST] Pakistani election officials ruled Monday that former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile] cannot not run as a candidate in January parliamentary elections because of a 2000 criminal conviction. A rival candidate had challenged Sharif's nomination based on his involvement in an illegal attempt to prevent a plane carrying then army chief and current President Pervez Musharraf [official website; JURIST news archive] from landing in the country during Musharraf's successful 1999 coup attempt which overthrew Sharif's civilian government. Lawyers for Sharif say that they plan to file an appeal.

Sharif, who returned from a seven year exile on November 25, met with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [personal website; JURIST news archive] on Monday in an attempt to persuade her to join other opposition members in an election boycott. 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.AFP has more.

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