New Pakistani PM Facing Contempt Charges in Supreme Court

Posted August 8th, 2012 at 7:55 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's Supreme Court has ordered Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to appear to face possible contempt charges for failing to probe corruption allegations against the president.

The court's summons Wednesday is the latest move in a long-running battle with the government and the court over graft allegations against President Asif Ali Zardari, who has denied any wrongdoing.

In June, the Supreme Court found former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani guilty of contempt for failing to write to Swiss authorities, asking them to reopen a corruption case against President Zardari. Gilani was disqualified from holding the post of prime minister.

On Wednesday, the court ordered Prime Minister Ashraf to appear at an August 27 hearing and “show cause why he may not be proceeded against for committing contempt.”

The Pakistani parliament passed a law last month that would have protected Mr. Ashraf by exempting high-ranking officials from contempt proceedings, but the Supreme Court last week struck down the law as unconstitutional.

The court had set a deadline of August 8 for Ashraf to write a letter to Swiss authorities.