Pak gov’t appeals against Sharif’s disqualification from by-elections

By Xinhua,

Islamabad : Pakistani government on Wednesday filed an appeal against the disqualification of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from contesting the by-elections.

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A full bench of the Lahore High Court on Monday disqualified Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif from contesting by-elections scheduled on Thursday.

The government said the Lahore High Court was not competent to hear the case and filed the appeal to the Supreme Court.

The PML-N has said the verdict was politically-motivated and viewed it as a conspiracy.

But the junior coalition party refused to raise the issue before the Supreme Court because it would not accept those judges who took oath of office after President Pervez Musharraf declared an emergency rule last November.

Sharif was barred from Feb. 18 general elections for the convictions related to the coup in 1999, in which then army chief Musharraf seized power. Earlier this month, Pakistan’s election committee had cleared Sharif to run for the by-elections.

However, the Lahore High Court, after receiving petition from a rival candidate, ruled that Sharif was ineligible to be elected into the parliament.

Lawmakers from Sharif’s party staged walkout on Tuesday to protest against the verdict. The verdict, as analysts said, would deepen worries about the political instability in the nuclear-armed nation.