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Exiled Pakistan P.M. Sharif to Run

August 26, 2002

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif filed nomination papers Monday to run for parliament in his stronghold of Lahore, defying President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s ban on his return.

Sharif’s attorney, Rashid Makhdoomi, said he submitted forms to the Election Commission of Pakistan for Sharif, Sharif’s wife, Kulsoon, and his brother, Shahbaz Sharif. Sharif was first elected in 1985 to represent a Lahore district in parliament.

Dozens of Sharif supporters chanted slogans outside the government offices while Makhdoomi turned in the nominations papers, witnesses said.

Musharraf seized power from Sharif in 1999 and has promised parliamentary elections on Oct. 10 to restore democracy.

All three proposed candidates currently live in exile in Saudi Arabia under an agreement between Musharraf and the Sharif family to commute the former prime minister’s conviction on corruption charges.

Musharraf said last week that under the exile agreement, the Sharifs cannot return to Pakistan before 2010 and said that Saudi authorities would not allow them to come back.

But Sharif’s party leaders were defiant Monday, insisting that as Pakistani citizens, they are within their rights.

``Nawaz Sharif is coming back for contesting the elections,″ Raja Zafar ul-Haq, chairman of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League, told The Associated Press.

Monday was the deadline for filing nomination papers for the Election Commission to review. A final list of approved candidates will be released on Sept. 2.

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