Hundreds of supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are protesting a court ruling that bans him from running for parliament in this week's by-election.

The protesters, who burned effigies,  gathered outside parliament in Islamabad Tuesday.  They blame President Pervez Musharraf for the court's decision.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani says the government will challenge the court's decision.

The Lahore High Court ruled Monday that Mr. Sharif is not qualified to run in Thursday's election because of convictions related to his overthrow in a 1999 military coup.

The decision prevents him from running for prime minister.

In 1999, Mr. Sharif allegedly ordered the hijacking of a commercial plane carrying Mr. Musharraf, who was then the army chief.  The former prime minister faced charges related to the incident.  He has denied the allegations.

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