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D-Day for Pakistan, court decides president, PM fate

world Updated: Jan 16, 2012 09:08 IST

Monday could well be a decisive day in the crisis that has gripped Pakistan for the last many days.

The supreme court will resume hearing a case for reopening some graft cases which will have a bearing on the fate of the country’s beleaguered leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari and prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

A panel appointed by the court to look into a memo, which pitted the government against the country’s powerful military, too, is set to meet during the day.

On the eve of the crucial day, Gilani pushed tensions a notch above by rejecting a demand by army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that he clarify or retract his criticism of the army and ISI.

"I will not answer to any individual as I'm answerable to parliament," Gilani told mediapersons Sunday.

Gilani last week criticised Kayani and director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha for filing court papers in the memo case. He said the filings were "unconstitutional", infuriating the military, which issued a stern warning.

Gilani hit back by sacking defence secretary Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Naeem Lodhi, a confidant of Kayani, saying he had created misunderstandings over the memo issue.

A 17-member top court bench will take up on Monday a case for reopening of corruption cases that were closed under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), a graft amnesty allowed by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2007.

The court has been pushing the government to act since it struck down the NRO, which benefited Zardari and 8,000 others, in 2009.

Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who triggered a storm by making public the memo that sought US help to reign in the army and prevent a military coup last year, is in Pakistan and could appear before the panel.

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