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Pakistani Court Removes Lawmaker From Office

A Pakistani court has removed a national lawmaker from office because he does not meet a controversial education requirement.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf changed election rules last June by requiring all candidates to hold a university degree.

Mufti Abrar Sultan is the first lawmaker to lose his position because of the election law. The court said Mr. Sultan's religious degree from an Islamic seminary did not satisfy the education requirement and ordered a new election to fill his position. His qualifications were challenged by his defeated opponent.

The ouster comes as the country's Supreme Court considers a closely-watched case that could disqualify another 65 members of National parliament under the same education requirement.

All 66 lawmakers are members of fundamentalist Islamic parties that surged to power in October elections. Critics of General Musharraf say the education law is meant to reduce the power of the Islamic parties.