Pakistan's top court on Thursday banned another loyalist of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from politics for five years, in a decision that raised questions about the credibility of national elections next month.
The Supreme Court disqualified Daniyal Aziz, a former minister and firebrand leader of Sharif's party, for allegedly making contemptuous statements about the judiciary.
The disqualification means Aziz, who denied the allegations and said he would challenge the decision, cannot contest elections next month.
A number of leaders from Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were either disqualified or are facing corruption charges since he was removed from office last year.
Elections are scheduled for July 25 amid tensions between the military, which has ruled the country for almost half of its history, and Sharif, whose party is seeking another term.
Critics have alleged collusion between generals and judges to remove Sharif and deny his party another parliamentary majority.
Some allege the military wants to prevent a victory for Sharif, who remains the country's most popular political leader despite his removal by the Supreme Court last year due to alleged corruption.
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