Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pakistani parliament backs PM Gilani

Pakistani officials and media members gather outside the Parliament House building during a joint session, Islamabad, Pakistan, January 13, 2012

Source: Press TV

Pakistan's parliament has passed a resolution in support of the government shortly after the country's Supreme Court issued a contempt of court notice against the prime minister.

The Pakistani parliament on Monday night voted with majority for the resolution to endorse the government of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani for its efforts to "strengthen democracy" amidst the country's worst legal and political crisis in over a decade.

Lawmakers of the main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), boycotted the proceedings.

"This House endorses and supports the efforts made by the political leadership for the strengthening democracy and reposes full confidence and trust in them," the resolution said.

The vote came after Pakistan's Supreme Court issued a contempt order against Gilani for not complying with orders related to the reopening of corruption cases.

Gilani was asked to appear in person at the court due to the government's refusal to reopen graft cases against top officials including President Asif Ali Zardari.

Gilani praised the lawmakers for passing the resolution and said that he would appear in the Supreme Court on January 19.

The Supreme Court has demanded that the government ask Swiss officials to reopen old corruption cases against the president.

The government and the ruling party, however, say Zardari has immunity from prosecution as long as he remains in office.

Zardari is also under pressure due to an investigation into who was behind efforts to ask for US help to avert an army coup in Pakistan, in May 2011.

The request for US help is said to have been made by former Pakistani Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, with support from Zardari. However, both Haqqani and Zardari have denied the accusations.

The government has been trying to avoid the escalating tensions with the military and the judiciary.

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