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Pakistan Supreme Court lifts election ban on opposition leader Sharif

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] on Tuesday lifted a ban [judgment, PDF] preventing opposition politician and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif [JURIST news archive] from participating in politics. The Supreme Court had barred [JURIST report] Sharif from holding elected office in Pakistan because of an earlier criminal conviction for "hijacking." Sharif was convicted of the offense for attempting to divert a plane carrying Army commander Pervez Musharraf [JURIST news archive] during a 1999 coup against Sharif that ultimately succeeded. The ruling was suspended in March [JURIST report] after the government of Sharif's political rival and current Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] petitioned the court to review the decision [JURIST report].

Earlier this year, Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) [party website] led a protest march [JURIST report] against Zardari and his Pakistan People's Party (PPP) [party website] as part of the Pakistan lawyers' movement [JURIST news archive]. In March, Zardari formed a parliamentary committee [JURIST report] to review key terms of the Pakistani Constitution, and reinstated [JURIST report] Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry [JURIST news archive], who was ousted in 2007 after then-president Musharraf declared a state of emergency rule.

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