May 25, 2013 | 01:27 PM (BD Time)
25 May, 2013 Saturday
Pakistan’s top court strikes down contempt law
. Press TV
Pakistan's Supreme Court has struck down a recent law aimed at protecting senior government officials including the country's prime minister from contempt of court proceedings.
The decision was announced on Friday as the court declared the controversial law as "null and void" for being contrary to the constitution and stripped Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf of immunity from prosecution.
The "contempt of court bill" was passed on July 9 by the National Assembly, which is the lower house of the Pakistani parliament.
This came after the court disqualified former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani as on June 19 after convicting him of contempt in April because he had refused to reopen the multi-million-dollar corruption cases against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
The court also set a deadline of August 8 for Ashraf to write a letter to the Swiss government to demand the reopening of corruption cases against Zardari.
Ashraf, former information and technology minister and a close ally of President Zardari, was elected by the National Assembly of Pakistan to replace Gilani on June 22.
Gilani's government argued that Zardari, who rejects the corruption charges, enjoys immunity as the country's president and refused to follow the court order.
Gilani's disqualification has spelled a fresh political turmoil and the clash of institutions in Pakistan just months ahead of the widely-expected general elections.
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