Prime minister appears before high court

Jan. 19, 2012 at 7:59 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani went before his country's Supreme Court Thursday to defend himself against possible contempt charges.

The seven justices ordered Gilani to explain his refusal to press Swiss authorities to reopen a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari, The New York Times reported.

The ruling Pakistan People's Party contends as president Zardari enjoys immunity in both local and international courts.

Gilani's lawyer argued the issue is not whether Zardari actually enjoys immunity but whether Gilani believes in good faith that he does.

If convicted of contempt, Gilani faces a prison sentence and disqualification from holding office, the BBC reported.

Thursday's hearing lasted little more than an hour before the court adjourned the case until Feb. 1.

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