Pakistani PM gets support from Cabinet
ISLAMABADThe Pakistani cabinet yesterday expressed “full confidence” in Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as he prepares to go on trial for contempt of court, which could cost him his job.
“The cabinet unanimously applauded the conduct of the prime minister in the Supreme Court and reposed full confidence in his leadership,” his office said in a statement. Gilani thanked the cabinet and said he was premier “due to the support of members of parliament, his cabinet colleagues and of the coalition partners”. The prime minister was on Feb. 13 charged with contempt by the Supreme Court for refusing to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. He pleaded not guilty and the court adjourned until Feb. 22, the first step paving the way to a trial that could see him jailed for six months and disqualified from office.
Meanwhile, Islamabad on Feb. 13 accused Washington of meddling over the restive southwestern province of Baluchistan. The foreign ministry said the U.S. Charge d’Affairs, Richard Hoagland, was conveyed the government’s serious concern over a U.S. Congressional hearing last week that discussed human rights abuses in Baluchistan. Pakistan’s Baluchistan province has been suffering from a separatist insurgency at the hands of Baluch rebels since 2004, demanding political autonomy.