(ISLAMABAD) — In a move sure to further destabilize government in Islamabad, the top court in Pakistan has decided to proceed with contempt of court charges against Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani for refusing to reopen a corruption case against Pakistani President Asif Zardari.
The contempt case against Gilani began last month after the prime minister failed to write a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen an old corruption investigation involving President Zardari, the Pakistan Observer reports. The seven justices unanimously ruled to proceed with the charges against Gilani, despite the government’s adamance that Zardari could not be prosecuted while he is head of state, according to the Observer.
Attorneys for Gilani say they have plans to appeal the ruling. If the appeal should fail, Gilani will have to return to court Feb. 13, where the contempt charges will initiate.
If Gilani is convicted, he could face up to six months in jail and be ejected from power.
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Ashley Fantz, AnneClaire Stapleton and Ed Payne, CNN Newswire
Sugam Pokharel and Tim Hume, CNN