Pakistan thrown into further turmoil as PM Yusuf Raza Gilani loses contempt appeal

Originally posted on National Post | News:

By Qasim Nauman

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s Supreme Court rejected the prime minister’s appeal against a summons in a contempt case on Friday and is set to charge him on Monday, a move likely to bring fresh political turmoil to the chronically unstable country.

If convicted, Yusuf Raza Gilani could be forced to step down and face up to six months in jail. The case, which has raised tension between Pakistan’s civilian leaders and the Supreme Court, could drag on and paralyze decision-making.

“The appeal is dismissed,” Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said in court, reading the decision of the eight-member bench.

If Gilani is removed, it does not necessarily mean the government will fall as the ruling coalition has the numbers in parliament to elect a replacement.

[np-related]

But a protracted court battle could weaken the administration and damage the ruling Pakistan People’s Party’s chances in the next general election expected…

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