Pakistan SC issues contempt notice to PM Ashraf
Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the issuance of a show-cause notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on the charges of contempt of court.
The newly-elected PM has been ordered to appear personally before the court on August 27 over his failure to comply with orders to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
The move, another twist in a long-running standoff between the government and the judiciary, could lead to further political instability in Pakistan, just two months after Ashraf’s predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was found guilty of contempt over the same issue and disqualified.
“We hereby issue a notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf … to show cause why he may not be proceeded against for committing contempt,” the court said in its short order.
The notice has been issued to the Pakistani PM under Article 204 of the Constitution.
A five-judge special bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, was hearing the case. via: india.com
Earlier on June 27, the bench had given the new prime minister two weeks to indicate whether he would ask Swiss authorities to reopen a corruption case against President Zardari.
The court had on June 19 dismissed Yousuf Raza Gilani as prime minister after convicting him of contempt in April for refusing to reopen the multi-million-dollar case against the president.
Raja Pervez Ashraf was later elected as the new prime minister.
The allegations against President Zardari date back to the 1990s, when he and his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto were suspected of using Swiss bank accounts to launder $12 million allegedly paid in bribes by companies seeking customs inspection contracts.
The Swiss shelved the case in 2008 when Zardari became president and the government had been insisting that the president has full immunity.
But in 2009 the Supreme Court overturned the NRO, a political amnesty that had frozen investigations into the president and other politicians, ordering that the cases be reopened.