A lawyer says a Pakistani court has barred the country's president from pardoning a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy before it rules on her appeal.

Attorney Allah Bakhsha Leghari says the chief justice of the Lahore High Court, Khawaja Sharif, issued the order Monday.

Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti has already said that President Asif Ali Zardari plans to give the court a chance to hear the appeal in the case of Asia Bibi.

He said Zardari would pardon Bibi if the appeal was delayed.

The mother of five's case prompted an appeal Pope Benedict XVI after she was sentenced earlier this month to die for insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammed. Her family says she was falsely accused over a personal dispute.