Saturday, March 1, 2008

Pakistan court acquits Shahbaz Sharif in murder case

LAHORE, Pakistan, March 1 (AFP) - A Pakistani anti-terrorism court Saturday acquitted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's brother of murder, clearing the way for him to contest a by-election, court officials said. The murder charges were brought against Shahbaz Sharif, a former chief minister of Punjab province, after the military toppled the government of Nawaz Sharif in a military coup in October 1999.

“The court ordered the acquittal after petitioners told the judge that they had found that Shahbaz was not behind the murders,” defence lawyer Khawaja Mohammed Haris told AFP. Shahbaz was barred by election authorities from standing in the February 18 election because he was facing the murder charges. His party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has already said he will contest a by-election due to be held in the next few months. Shahbaz Sharif, who is PML-N president, returned to Pakistan with his brother after seven years in exile. (Posted @ 11:15 PST)

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