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Pakistani president agrees to lift governor's rule in E province
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21:27, March 13, 2009

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Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has agreed in principle to lift governor's rule imposed in eastern Pakistan province, local television reported on Friday, a move considered to be taken to defuse current political crisis in the country.

The president agrees to lift the governor's rule in Punjab and allow the provincial assembly to elect new chief minister, private Dawn TV channel quoted sources as saying.

Last month, A Supreme Court verdict has banned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, also chief of the opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and his brother Shahbaz Sharif from holding office.

The verdict also removed Shahbaz Sharif from the office of chief minister of eastern Pakistan's Punjab province, the country's largest and richest province where the PML-N holds power.

Nawaz Sharif has accused President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the co-chairman of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), of standing behind the verdict.

The PPP-led government has imposed governor's rule in Punjab after the court ruling, instead of allowing the provincial assembly to elect new chief minister.

The verdict has caused strong opposition from Nawaz Sharif, who decided to participate in the lawyers' "long march", which entered the second day Friday aimed at restoring judges sacked by former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007 when he imposed emergency rule.

Reports said hundreds of political activists and lawyers have been put under house arrest over the past three days.

The "long march" has plunged the troubled country into another political crisis a year after the new government took office.

Source: Xinhua

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