Pakistan opposition demands PM's resignation
ISLAMABAD - Agence France-Presse
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (C) is escorted by security as he waves upon his arrival at the Supreme Court building in Islamabad on April 26, 2012. AFP PhotoPakistani opposition parties Thursday demanded that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani resign after he was convicted of contempt of court over corruption allegations against the president.
Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the main Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party who has twice served as prime minister, said Gilani should quit and call fresh elections.
"Prime Minister should immediately resign. He should step down without causing further crisis," Sharif said live on the private television station Geo.
"The court verdict is based on truth and reality. It must have punished the prime minister with a heavy heart, but the prime minister himself is to be blamed.
"The Prime Minister himself invited this situation," he added.
The Supreme Court convicted Gilani of contempt on Thursday over his refusal to write to authorities in Switzerland asking them to reopen corruption investigations into President Asif Ali Zardari.
He was given only a nominal sentence, detained for a few minutes until the court adjourned, but could still be forced out of office.
Sharif, whose party rules the largest Pakistani province of Punjab, said PML-N will decide its future course of action if Gilani attends parliament after the sentence.
Chief of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party Munawar Hussain also urged the prime minister to quit as he had "lost moral ground" after the judgment.
"The prime minister should have himself declared by now that I am no more prime minister," he said.
"The Supreme Court sentenced him in an honourable manner and it also got its verdict implemented. He is now a convicted person and he cannot remain prime minister now," Hussain told Geo.