Jan 19 - Pakistan's Supreme Court adjourned a contempt hearing for its prime minister, leaving the possible fate of the government unresolved. Michaela Cabrera reports.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani faced the Supreme Court on Thursday (January 19). The court adjourned a hearing on a contempt case, leaving a political crisis over corruption simmering. The issue at hand is presidential immunity. Gilani was called to court to explain why he should not be charged with contempt, for failing to re-open old corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. If Gilani is found guilty, he could be disqualified from office and forced to resign. This could throw an already unstable Pakistan into a bigger crisis. Gilani's government is already embattled, in disputes with the judiciary and with the powerful armed forces. Tight security was imposed around Islamabad ahead of the hearing. Pakistan is no stranger to terror attacks and high-profile assasinations. Zardari's lawyer is confident that the prime minister would not be charged. SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) AITEZAZ AHSAN, LAWYER FOR PRIME MINISTER YUSUF RAZA GILANI, SAYING: "We bow our heads before the orders of the court. I will try to satisfy the court about section 248 regarding presidential immunity. God willing, I will try to convince them that in this issue, presidential immunity is complete." Gilani is due for another appearance in court, on the 1st of February. Michaela Cabrera, Reuters.