SC demanded new prime minister to follow order.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday demanded that the nation’s brand-new prime minister follow an order to reopen a long-dormant corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari, setting up the likelihood of a continuing constitutional crisis.
The court last week disqualified from office Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s longest-serving prime minister, whom it convicted of contempt in April because Gilani refused to follow the same order.
The ruling party replaced Gilani with a former federal energy chief, Raja Pervez Ashraf, who has indicated that he will not comply with the order and faces his own set of corruption charges in a separate case before the high court.
Some political and legal observers have accused the court, headed by populist, corruption-battling Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, of working to destabilize an already shaky civilian government. Ashraf and his predecessor maintain that Pakistan’s constitution grants the president immunity from prosecution, but the court has consistently ruled otherwise, saying no one is above the law.
The legal and political upheaval has complicated U.S. efforts to broker a compromise with Pakistan to reopen vital NATO supply routes that pass into landlocked Afghanistan through Pakistani territory. The routes have been shut for more than seven months, creating a logistical headache not only for the Pentagon but also for other international forces, including France’s, that require access to Pakistan’s southern port to withdraw vast quantities of materiel from Afghanistan.
Zardari has denied the corruption allegations, which date to the 1990s and involve Swiss bank accounts held by the president and his late wife, Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister who was assassinated in 2007. Gilani for months refused to write a letter to Swiss authorities asking them to reopen graft and money-laundering cases against Zardari.
The court on Wednesday gave the new prime minister until July 12 to respond to its directive and offer any arguments as to why he need not pursue the corruption charges.
Some analysts predict that Ashraf will be in the job for only a few weeks — the time the court will take to consider his response and hand down a ruling that, observers say, will almost certainly require Ashraf to write the “Swiss letter.”
“The new prime minister is facing the same situation” as Gilani, said S.M. Zafar, a longtime lawyer in Islamabad. “He could write the letter or he could take some middle ground that is acceptable to the court as well.

link: http://www.northjersey.com/news/international/160608365_Pakistan_s_Supreme_Court_Sets_Collision_Course_with_New_Prime_Minister__Islamabad_.html

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