Accessibility links

Pakistani Government to Appeal Ruling Against Opposition

Pakistan's government says it will appeal a recent court ruling against two opposition leaders in an effort to defuse a political crisis.

The government says it will seek review of a Supreme Court ruling that barred opposition party leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz, from holding elected office.

The development comes as opposition members and lawyers are vowing to proceed with an anti-government march Monday in the capital, Islamabad.

Pakistan says it has placed its army on standby ahead of the planned march. An army spokesman, Athar Abbas, told VOA the military will deploy troops if asked by the government.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Information Minister Sherry Rehman resigned her post, a day after a private television station accused the government of blocking its broadcasts in major cities.

But a presidential spokesman, Faratullah Babar, denied the Geo TV channel had been ordered off the air, or that any private broadcasts had been blocked.

Geo TV has been critical of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and the government crackdown.

The president's office gave no explanation for Sherry Rehman's resignation but said another Cabinet member has taken over her duties. Geo TV appeared to be back on the air Saturday.

In recent days, Pakistan's government has been cracking down on nationwide protest demonstrations. On Saturday, police detained protesters in the central city of Multan, the third straight day the government has tried to break up the rally.

Pakistani lawyers are demanding that President Zardari reinstate a former Supreme Court chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, ousted by former President Pervez Musharraf.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.