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Pakistan Election Commission Bars Sharif Candidacy

Pakistan's Election Commission Bars Sharif Candidacy

Pakistan's election commission has rejected the nomination papers of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif for next month's parliamentary elections.

A top election official in the city of Lahore said Monday that Mr. Sharif's nomination papers were rejected because of past criminal convictions.

The announcement came ahead of a planned meeting between former prime ministers Sharif and Benazir Bhutto to discuss the elections, which Mr. Sharif has said he would boycott.

Ms. Bhutto has said her supporters will take part in the January 8 elections "under protest," because of the emergency decrees President Pervez Musharraf issued a month ago. However, Mr. Sharif has said his party will not take part in the elections unless judges that had been removed are reinstated.

Separately, Mr. Musharraf will meet with visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gul Monday to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues.

The Turkish president also is expected to meet with leaders of Pakistan's political parties. Today is the second and final day of his visit marking 60 years of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Pakistan.

Mr. Gul is the first foreign head of state to travel to Pakistan since Mr. Musharraf imposed emergency rule a month ago.

President Musharraf has promised to lift emergency rule on December 16. He has relinquished his role as military chief and was sworn in Thursday for a second five-year term as president.


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