Pakistan government may sink deeper into crisis: daily

February 3rd, 2012 - 12:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Feb 3 (IANS) The Pakistan Supreme Court’s ruling that Yousuf Raza Gilani has committed contempt of court has “significantly escalated pressure on the embattled prime minister and may sink his weak government deeper into crisis”, said a daily.

An editorial in the News International Friday said: “Thursday was a good day for rule of law but a bad day for politics: the Supreme Court summoned Gilani to appear Feb 13 — to be indicted with contempt over his refusal to follow a court order and ask Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.”

Gilani was previously summoned Jan 19. If convicted, Gilani could be disqualified from public office and may also have to step down as prime minister.

The editorial said the apex court “appears determined to force the prime minister to write to the Swiss”.

The apex court had held as illegal and struck down in 2009 the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which granted immunity to politicians and bureaucrats in corruption cases, and warned the government of action if its ruling was not implemented by Jan 10, 2012.

The court had also sought reopening of cases closed under the NRO, and ordered the government to write a letter to the Swiss authorities specifically to reopen cases against the president.

“What has happened has significantly escalated pressure on the embattled prime minister and may sink his weak government deeper into crisis,” the editorial said, adding that it is “a crisis of the government’s own making, one that was easily avoidable had the government simply complied with court orders and done the right thing”.

“…the government turned the avoidable into the inevitable by constantly thwarting the court’s orders. What happened on Thursday was only the logical conclusion of the actions of a government hell-bent on avoiding accountability and undermining rule of law — something for which it already stands indicted in the court of public opinion,” it said.

Criticising the government, the editorial said that it has made “a habit of raising the spectre of `democracy in danger’ — an ironic gesture given that it seems the government is its own worst enemy”.

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