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Pakistan Supreme Court delays Friday by-election in district of ex-PM Sharif

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] on Wednesday agreed to delay a by-election scheduled for Thursday in the district of the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) [party website] and ex-Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] until the court rules on an appeal of a lower court ruling [JURIST report] that barred Sharif from standing in the by-election. A three-judge panel [cause list] of the Supreme Court heard the government's emergency appeal of the ruling Wednesday, and indicated that it would not deliberate on the case until next Monday, putting on hold elections in Sharif's home district in Lahore until the court resolves the issue. The PML-N's partner in government, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) [party website], instigated the appeal after the PML-N declined to appeal Monday's Lahore High Court (LHC) [official website] ruling against Sharif and rejected the court's decision [Daily Times report]. The Pakistan government said Tuesday that it would file an appeal [JURIST report]. BBC has more.

The Lahore High Court's ruling barred Sharif from the June 26 by-election on the grounds that a prior criminal conviction rendered him ineligible for office. In 2000, 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. Sharif has said that he will not personally challenge Monday's decision since he considers the Supreme Court as currently constituted to be illegitimate. AP has additional coverage.

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