ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s Supreme Court 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 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 cases.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) coalition elected Raja Pervez Ashraf as premier on Friday, after judges issued an arrest warrant for its first suggested replacement.
Five days later, Justice Nasir-ul Mulk directed the attorney general to find out how the government intended to deal with the Swiss cases and report back on July 12.
Some political and legal observers have accused the court, headed by populist, corruption-battling Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, of working to destabilize an already-shaky civilian government.
“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. — Agencies