President Asif Ali Zardari
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has charged the prime minister with contempt for defying its orders to reopen a corruption case against his political ally, President Asif Ali Zardari.
The court will now hear the case against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, but a verdict could take several weeks or months. If found guilty, he could be imprisoned and lose his job. Gilani has refused to order the corruption probe into Zardari, saying the president has immunity from prosecution while in office.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani
The prime minister’s actions reek of protecting the president over our system of democracy,” the Express Tribune said in an editorial. “Even if the president’s immunity is upheld, it will no longer be applicable once he is out of office and in that eventuality there may be no legal or constitutional hitch in preventing the Supreme Court from going ahead on this issue.”
It was a view widely held by many other newspapers and analysts, who largely hail the Supreme Court’s actions as a badly needed advance for the rule of law and accountability in Pakistan, where corruption tops the list of most opinion polls as the country’s biggest problem.
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