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May 6, 2021

Pakistani court extends corruption case deadline for PM

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has given Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf three more weeks to resolve a deadlock over the re-opening of corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, the BBC informs. Appearing in court, Mr Ashraf sought time to resolve the stand-off between the judiciary and the government.  Former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani was barred from holding office in June after he refused to re-open the cases. The charges date back to the 1990s when the late Benazir Bhutto was in power. The court wants Mr Ashraf’s government to write a letter to the Swiss authorities asking them to re-open a money laundering case against Mr Zardari. But the president insists that the charge – one of several cases against the civilian government, led by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – is politically motivated. The stand-off resulted from the government not complying with the court orders, arguing that President Zardari has constitutional immunity. But on Monday, Mr Ashraf said that he “sincerely” wanted to resolve the stand-off. The five-member bench wanted immediate assurances, but granted time as requested by the prime minister. If Mr Ashraf fails to come up with a resolution on 18 September, the court may decide to indict him for contempt.

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