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Pakistan cabinet backs indicted PM

The Pakistani cabinet today expressed "full confidence" in Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as he prepares to go on trial for contempt of court, which could cost him his job.

world Updated: Feb 14, 2012 14:29 IST

The Pakistani cabinet on Tuesday expressed "full confidence" in Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as he prepares to go on trial for contempt of court, which could cost him his job.


"The cabinet unanimously applauded the conduct of the prime minister in the Supreme Court and reposed full confidence in his leadership," his office said in a statement.

Gilani thanked the cabinet and said he was premier "due to the support of members of parliament, his cabinet colleagues and of the coalition partners".

The prime minister was on Monday charged with contempt by the Supreme Court for refusing to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

He pleaded not guilty and the court adjourned until Feburary 22, the first step paving the way to a trial that could see him jailed for six months and disqualified from office.

President Zardari and his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, were suspected of using Swiss accounts to launder about $12 million in alleged bribes paid by companies seeking customs inspection contracts in the 1990s.

The Supreme Court has ordered the government to ask the Swiss to re-open the cases, which were shelved in 2008, when Zardari became head of state.

The prime minister has refused, saying Zardari is immune from prosecution as president and that the cases are politically motivated.

The president is nicknamed "Mr 10 Percent" for his alleged corruption. He has already spent 11 years in jail in Pakistan on charges ranging from corruption to murder although he has never been convicted.