Sharif cleared to run for office again by court

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The Independent Online

Pakistan's top court has overturned opposition leader Nawaz Sharif's conviction on hijacking charges stemming from 1999, clearing the last obstacle to his running for office.

On 12 October that year, the then prime minister removed General Pervez Musharraf from his post as army chief and refused to allow his plane to land. The army revolted and ousted Mr Sharif in a bloodless coup. In its ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court said there was no evidence to support the hijacking conviction.

Mr Sharif, who according to recent polls is Pakistan's most popular politician, has made no secret of his desire to return to his position as prime minister, but has said he does not want early elections. His party came second in last year's elections behind that of President Asif Ali Zardari. Mr Sharif's spokesman Sadiqul Farooq hailed yesterday's ruling, and said it paved the way for his return to public office.