Pakistan’s Supreme Court Threatens to Disqualify PM

Posted January 10th, 2012 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's Supreme Court is threatening to disqualify the prime minister from office if he doesn't initiate corruption proceedings against the country's president.

The five-judge panel accused Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of being dishonest in not obeying a Supreme Court ruling. The court in 2009 struck down an amnesty for some 8,000 senior politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen accused of corruption, murder and terrorism.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was among those protected by the 2007 amnesty known as the National Reconciliation Ordinance. He is accused of money-laundering in Switzerland.

The Supreme Court has since ordered all corruption cases to be reopened, including the case against President Zardari. The government has so far stalled on the request, saying Mr. Zardari has immunity from prosecution while in office.

The court said Tuesday that Prime Minister Gilani was violating his oath of office and could be dismissed if he did not pursue the case against President Zardari.

The court planned to reconvene next week to hear arguments from Pakistan's attorney general.

The 2007 National Reconciliation Ordinance was part of a power-sharing deal between then President Pervez Musharraf and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Mr. Zadari's wife. Ms. Bhutto was assassinated two months later, two weeks before general elections in which she was a leading opposition candidate.

President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani's government is already under pressure from another scandal surrounding a memo in which the civilian government allegedly sought U.S. help in preventing a military coup in Pakistan.