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SC threatens PM over prez cases

Pakistan veered towards another political crisis as the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea by the government that it was not bound to write a letter to Swiss authorities as President Zardari enjoyed immunity.

world Updated: Jul 13, 2012 01:23 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

Pakistan veered towards another political crisis as the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea by the government that it was not bound to write a letter to Swiss authorities as President Zardari enjoyed immunity.

The court has threatened action against the government if it does not comply. For its part, the government says that it is covering its back by signing into law a contempt of court amendment bill.

Now analysts are divided on whether the sitting prime minister can be dismissed on contempt of court after the passage of the amendment bill, which President signed on Thursday, after it sailed through parliament on Monday.

The government says it will now fight back. "Yes a prime minister cannot be removed in the manner Mr Gilani was done," said information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/7/13_07_12-metro16.jpg

Others dont agree. "The government should listen to the Supreme Court or we will see the exit of yet another prime minister," said former chief justice Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui.

The Supreme Court ordered the premier to write the letter to Swiss authorities and submit a report to the court by July 25.

The order, also hinting at a contempt of court notice, stated that laws applicable to former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani were also applicable to the current PM and if he did not implement the court's order, "action would be taken".

At the same time, the government moved swiftly to amend the contempt of court law so that its second prime minister is not disqualified on the same grounds. President Zardari on Thursday signed into law the controversial contempt of court amendment bill.

The bill will provide immunity from contempt proceedings to high office holders, including the PM, president, CMs, ministers as well as governors.