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Zardari hanging pardon 'is illegal'

A court has barred President Asif Ali Zardari from pardoning a Christian woman sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Mohamed.

The chief justice of the Lahore High Court said a pardon was illegal as the court was already hearing Asia Bibi's appeal.

"We argued that since the death sentence given by the trial court to Asia Bibi has yet to be confirmed or rejected by the High Court, the President could not use his power at this stage," said lawyer Allah Bakhsha Leghari.

Ms Bibi, who has five children, was convicted of blasphemy.