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Sharif disqualification to be challenged

world Updated: Jun 24, 2008 18:49 IST
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Pakistan government on Monday said it would move the Supreme Court against a High Court order to bar ex-premier Nawaz Sharif from contesting by-polls as angry lawmakers of his PML-N party staged a walkout from Parliament.

Law Minister Farooq Naek told the National Assembly, lower house of Parliament, that the federal government will file an appeal in the Supreme Court tomorrow against the Lahore High Court's judgement disqualifying Sharif from contesting parliamentary by-polls scheduled for June 26.

The announcement came despite PML-N spokesman Siddique-ul-Farooq's statement that Sharif will not file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the High Court's decision.

"The Lahore High Court is a kangaroo court. The judgement was written somewhere else and they were used as a mouthpiece," he said, adding the persons who had challenged Sharif's candidature were "known establishment touts".

Naek said the High Court could not pass a judgement in the matter as it was a poll-related issue that could only be decided by an election tribunal. The apex court will also be requested to issue a stay order for the by-polls so that elections cannot be held till the appeal is decided, he said.

The High Court, while ruling on petitions challenging Sharif's candidature, yesterday barred the two-time premier from contesting the by-polls. The judgement was condemned by the PML-N, which is a key ally in the PPP-led government, charging that it was a decision taken by handpicked judges at the behest of President Pervez Musharraf.

Naek's comments did not pacify PML-N lawmakers, who walked out of the National Assembly and staged a protest on the avenue outside the Parliament building. They were joined by lawyers and PML-N workers, who shouted slogans against Musharraf as well as judges who swore an oath of allegiance to the President.