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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pakistan Disqualifies Ex-Premier

LAHORE, Pakistan -- Pakistan's election commission on Monday barred former prime minister and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif from a Jan. 8 general election because of his criminal record.

Sharif, a two-time prime minister overthrown in 1999 by the then-army chief, President Pervez Musharraf, has been threatening to boycott the Jan. 8 elections but had nonetheless registered to run.

"His nomination papers are rejected because of his convictions," presiding election official Raja Qamaruzaman said in the eastern city of Lahore, Sharif's power base, where last week he filed his nomination.

Sharif, who returned from seven years of exile on Nov. 25, says the convictions secured against him in the wake of his ouster were politically motivated.

His disqualification will be seen by the opposition as the result of pressure on election officials by Musharraf, who critics say has sway over voting officials.

Election officials barred Sharif's brother, Shahbaz, from running last week, citing financial irregularities.

"Musharraf is responsible for the disqualification of both Nawaz and Shahbaz. He wants to keep them out of the frame. This is the most blatant form of rigging possible," said Sharif's spokesman, Nadir Chaudri.

Sharif brushed off his disqualification and vowed to fight on against what he called dictatorship.