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Contempt-Exemption Bill Goes To Pakistan's Upper House


The court has given newly elected Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf (pictured) until July 12 to comply with an order to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The court has given newly elected Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf (pictured) until July 12 to comply with an order to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

A bill that would exempt senior Pakistani government ministers from contempt-of-court proceedings has been sent for debate in the upper house of the Pakistani parliament after its approval by the lower house.

The bill is being seen as a bid to prevent new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf from suffering the same fate as his predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was dismissed from office after being convicted for contempt.

The lower house approved the measure on July 9.

Pakistan's Supreme Court has given Prime Minister Ashraf until July 12 to indicate whether he will obey the court's order to ask Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Gilani had rejected the order, saying Zardari has immunity while in office, leading to Gilani's dismissal in June.

Based on reporting by AFP and Pakistani television
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