Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has decided to appear in the Supreme Court on Jan. 19 after he was issued a contempt of court notice for his failure to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, a cabinet minister said Monday.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani [File photo]
The Supreme Court had ordered the prime minister to appear before a seven-member bench on Thursday to explain as to why he is not implementing the apex court's order to open graft cases against President Zardari and many others.
Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said the prime minister will appear before the court along with leaders of the ruling coalition. She said that the decision was taken in a meeting of coalition partners.
She told reporters in Islamabad that the prime minister will not resign as he is an elected person.
There had been hectic activities in Islamabad after the court issued contempt of court notice to the prime minister.
President Asif Ali Zardari and the prime minister had two meetings and they also attended meetings of the lawmakers of coalition parties to discuss how to face the growing pressure on the government.
The Supreme Court had asked the government to send a letter to the Swiss authorities to open graft cases against President Zardari and others.
The ruling Pakistan People Party (PPP) has refused to send the letter, arguing that the president has immunity and no case could be initiated against the president. President Zardari also said this month that his ruling party has decided not to send the letter.
All corruption cases against the president and many politicians and government officers had been dropped after the PPP struck a deal with the former President Pervez Musharraf.
The Supreme Court had annulled the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and ordered reopening of all graft cases.
Senior politicians, belonging to different political parties, Monday advised the prime minister to avoid colliding with other state's institutions. These leaders were invited by the prime minister for consultations.
The Supreme Court has been mounting pressure on the PPP-led government to reopen the cases against the president in Switzerland since it cancelled a graft amnesty that benefited President Zardari and nearly 8,000 others in December 2009.
The apex court has declared that the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), the graft amnesty issued by former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007, was unconstitutional and illegal.
Despite immense pressure from the court, the government has refused to write to Swiss authorities to reopen the cases against Zardari, saying the President enjoys constitutional immunity from prosecution.