Pakistan’s court strikes down premier’s contempt immunity
Sat Aug 4, 2012 12:47AM
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has declared as illegal a new law recently passed by the country’s Parliament to protect the new Prime Minister from persecution. The law was enacted in reaction to the court orders asking the Prime Minister to pursue corruption cases against the President or face the consequences. Our Correspondent Kamran Yousaf has more from Islamabad…Pakistan’s Supreme Court is in no mood to let the government off the hook. In a latest development, the country’s highest court has struck down a new law enacted by the government to safeguard the new Prime Minister against his likely disqualification. The Parliament amended the contempt law following former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s disqualification in June over his refusal to reopen money laundering cases against the President. Last month, the court warned Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf that he might face the same fate as was his predecessor if he refuses to comply with its directions. The Supreme Court has given Prime Minister Ashraf until August 8 to decide whether he intends to pursue corruption cases against the President. The ruling Peoples Party has so far resisted the court orders arguing Zardari enjoys constitutional immunity from persecution. Observers believe that the ongoing showdown between the judiciary and government could force early elections in Pakistan, which are due in February 2013. Experts believe the Supreme Court verdict has left no room for the new Prime Minister to escape the possible conviction if he refuses to write a letter to Swiss authorities seeking revival of corruption cases against President Asif Zardari.