Sharif Barred From Pakistan Vote

Criminal convictions cited; ex-PM blames Musharraf's political maneuvering
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2007 3:25 PM CST
In this picture released by Pakistan Muslim League, Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, left, receives her political rival former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, right, at her residence in...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Pakistani election officials today barred Nawaz Sharif from running in January elections, citing the ex-PM's criminal past. Sharif, who had pushed for an election boycott but registered anyway, dismissed the rejection, saying it would only strengthen his “vigor and resolve.” Sharif's record stems from trumped-up charges related to his 1999 ouster at the hands of Pervez Musharraf, Reuters reports.

“This is the most blatant form of rigging possible," said a spokesman for Sharif, whose brother was also disqualified over financial irregularities. Meanwhile, Sharif today was meeting with fellow opposition leader Benazir Bhutto to discuss boycotts; Bhutto has begun her campaign but has left the door open to joining Sharif in a boycott.