Pakistan PM wins time in legal wrangle over president
ISLAMABAD - Agence France-Presse
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf (C) waves upon his arrival at The Supreme Court in Islamabad on August 27, 2012. AFP photoPakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Monday won a few more weeks' breathing space in a long-running legal wrangle over the reopening of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
The Supreme Court ordered Ashraf in July to comply with an order to write to authorities in Switzerland asking them to reopen multimillion dollar corruption probes investigating the president.
Ashraf's predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was thrown out of office for refusing to write to the Swiss and last month the court made veiled threats that the new premier could suffer the same fate.
After dismissing Gilani in June, the court gave Ashraf two weeks to indicate whether he would write to the Swiss before adjourning the case to try to find a way out of the stand-off.
On Monday Judge Asif Saeed Khosa adjourned the case again, to September 18, after Ashraf pledged to find a way to resolve the issue.
The government has resisted judges' demands to reopen investigations into Zardari for more than two years, arguing he enjoys immunity as head of state.
The showdown could force elections before February 2013 when the government would otherwise become the first in Pakistan's history to complete an elected, full five-year mandate.
The allegations against Zardari date back to the 1990s, when he and his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, are suspected of laundering $12 million allegedly paid in bribes by companies seeking customs inspection contracts.
In 2009, the court overturned a political amnesty that froze investigations into the president and other politicians, ordering that the cases be reopened.