Pakistan’s Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has been summoned before the Supreme Court for failing to reopen corruption cases against the president. The move comes two months after Mr Ashraf’s predecessor Yousuf Raza Gilani was found guilty of contempt over the same issue and barred from office. There has been a long-running standoff between the government and the judiciary in Pakistan. Judge Asif Saeed Khosa said that Mr Ashraf had been given notice “under [the] contempt of court act 2003, read with article 204 of the constitution to show cause as to why he may not be proceeded [against] in contempt of court by not complying [with the] relevant direction of the court”. “He shall appear in person at the next date of hearing. Hearing adjourned until 27 August,” Mr Khosa said.
The judge said that it was unfortunate that the prime minister had failed to comply with its orders. He warned that Mr Ashraf could be charged with contempt of court.Last week the court struck down a new law exempting top government officials from contempt of court charges, saying it was unconstitutional.
Party ‘to resist’ : Critics of the judiciary and members of President Asif Ali Zardari’s governing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) accuse the court of over-stepping its powers and waging a personal vendetta against him and his party. The PPP leadership met and resolved to “resist” the court’s directive to write a letter to Swiss authorities asking them to reopen cases against the president. It also formulated a strategy to cope with the situation if the court dismissed the prime minister, a daily from England reported .