Pakistan minister restored to eligibility

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 31 (UPI) -- Shahbaz Sharif can return to his post as chief minister of the Pakistani province of Punjab, the nation's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The decision overturns a high court ruling banning one of Pakistan's most powerful politicians from office in what was widely viewed as a political move backed by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, The New York Times reported.


The five-member court's decision came after Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, fired in 2007 by President Pervez Musharraf, was restored to his post this month by the government.

Shahbz Sharif and his brother, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in February were ruled ineligible to hold office because of past criminal convictions, triggering mass protests demanding an independent judiciary. The protests ended with Chaudhry's restoration to the high court.

Sharif told reporters in Lahore that he would "leave no stone unturned" to help Punjab residents when he returned as chief minister, the Times reported.

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