Pakistan High Court Lifts Ban on Sharif
Two-time ex-PM will be allowed to contest elections
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 26, 2009 6:40 AM CDT
Supporters of Pakistani opposition leader Nawaz Sharif chant anti-government slogans during a rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Sunday, March 15, 2009.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
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(Newser) – The Pakistani Supreme Court has lifted a ban on opposition leader Nawaz Sharif that prevented him from running for election, clearing the way for the popular politician to vie for a third term as prime minister. Sharif had been blocked from public office because of a criminal conviction in 2000 widely seen as politically motivated. Today's decision is a reversal of an earlier court ruling, which led to nationwide protests against the current government, reports the AP.

Supporters broke into cheers soon after the verdict in the appeal was handed down by the Supreme Court—whose chief justice was reinstated after a long campaign by Sharif's party and the country's lawyers' movement. Sharif, the country's most popular politician according to polls, has made no secret of his desire to become prime minister, but has said he does not want early elections.