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Pakistan court jails aide of former prime minister ahead of election 

An aide to former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was jailed for life under accusations of selling 500kg of a key drug-making chemical on Saturday, just days before the country’s general election in which he was running as a candidate.

Hanif Abbasi is accused of supplying the chemical ephedrine to a smuggler.

His conviction comes just three days before a divisive general election and has removed Mr Abbasi from running as a candidate. In response Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) party has accused Pakistan’s military of exerting influence over the judiciary to deny them a second term. The military has denied these allegations. The arrest though will boost Mr Sharif’s chief opponent Imran Khan, who has described him as a “‘criminal’ deserving no support”.

Nawaz Sharif’s government has been marked with a tense relationship with the military which had ruled Pakistan for nearly half of its 71-year history and accusations of corruption. Last year Mr Sharif was removed from his post by the Supreme Court and sentenced this month to 10 years for corruption being arrested upon his return from London on July 13th.

National polls note a tight race between “the PML-N and Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI, or Pakistan Justice Movement), with the Pakistan Peoples' Party of slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in third place”.

See more from Reuters here.