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Now, it’s judiciary vs govt in Pak

Pakistan plunged into deeper crisis on Monday with the supreme court ordering the prime minister to appear before it for failing to pursue corruption cases against the president and other officials. Gilani summoned | Pak Parliament passes resolution supporting Gilani

world Updated: Jan 17, 2012 14:37 IST

Pakistan plunged into deeper crisis on Monday with the supreme court ordering the prime minister to appear before it for failing to pursue corruption cases against the president and other officials.

The court threatened Yusuf Raza Gilani with contempt, the latest blow for the civilian administration which also faces pressure from the military over a memo seeking US help to avert an alleged coup last year.

While Gilani is the one facing a contempt hearing, most observers say the court’s real target is President Asif Ali Zardari. During the 1990s, Zardari had multiple cases of corruption and even murder lodged against him.

An amnesty deal that protected him from prosecution was nullified in 2009 and the court has been pushing for the government to re-open and investigate the corruption cases against Zardari.

“We are left with no option, as a first step, to issue a show-cause notice,” a seven-member bench of the court said in its notice. “The prime minister should appear personally in court on January 19.” Gilani told the assembly in the evening that he would do so.

While Gilani is not in immediate danger, he may have to step down if held in contempt.

“The whole nation is with the supreme court. The constitution, not parliament, is sovereign and no one will accept martial law,” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Justice Party) chief Imran Khan said.

In the evening, the Pakistan National Assembly adopted a pro-democracy resolution. The adoption of the resolution “unanimously shows that parliament is supreme, sovereign and democracy is stable”, Gilani told parliament. The military and judiciary must defend democracy and “cannot pack up” the system, he said.