Pakistan’s Supreme Court Orders New PM to Pursue Corruption Cases

Posted July 12th, 2012 at 3:20 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Pakistan's Supreme Court has ordered the country's new prime minister to pursue corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari — the latest development in a long-running showdown between the court and government.

In an order issued Thursday, Judge Asif Saeed Khosa said Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is bound to obey the court's directives in this matter just as his predecessor Yousuf Raza Gilani was and must submit a report by July 25.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled Gilani was ineligible for office after it found him guilty of contempt for refusing its order to ask Switzerland to investigate corruption claims against the president.

According to Pakistani law, a person who has a prior conviction cannot serve in parliament and Gilani was forced to leave office. This was the first time a Pakistani prime minister was removed by the judiciary.

Before the court's ruling Thursday, President Zardari signed into law a controversial bill providing senior government officials greater protection against being charged with contempt.

The government has long refused to pursue the corruption claims against the president, saying that while in office, Mr. Zardari has protection from prosecution. The Pakistani president has denied any wrongdoing.