President Asif Ali Zardari executed a climbdown Saturday in calling for an end to governor's rule in Pakistan's most politically important province.
"As we move towards a better future, I wish to announce that we should recommend the lifting of the governor rule in Punjab," Zardari told parliament in a keynote speech.
Zardari imposed governor's rule in Punjab, which controls more than 60 percent of seats in parliament, on February 25 after a court disqualified the two top leaders of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party.
The move effectively gave Zardari direct rule of Punjab because the governor was a member of his Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
Political parties have long battled for control of the huge province, where the PPP had wanted to establish its own government.
"Pakistan People's Party will also support the candidate of PML-N, whoever he might be," the president added.