Thousands of supporters of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif protested in
Pakistan Thursday, angered over a court decision banning him and his
brother from elected office.
Sharif denounced the Supreme
Court ruling, blamed President Ali Asif Zardari, and called for more
protests at a rally near the eastern city of Lahore in Punjab
province. Around 20 lawmakers gathered outside the Punjab provincial
assembly were detained.
Smaller protests also erupted in the
capital, Islamabad, where police fired tear gas at a mob trying to
block the highway to Punjab province.
upheld the election ban on Mr. Sharif because of a prior criminal
conviction related to his terms as prime minister in the 1990s. The
decision also removed his brother, Shahbaz, as chief minister of Punjab
Late Wednesday, President Zardari compounded
tensions by imposing governor's rule - direct rule by his
representative - in Punjab for two months.
year's general elections, Mr. Sharif's political party joined the
ruling coalition headed by President Zardari's Pakistan People's Party.
Mr. Sharif later quit after the president refused to reinstate top
judges fired by former President Pervez Musharraf.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.