Jan 19 - Pakistan court puts off contempt case against Prime Minister Gilani. Rough Cut (No reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Pakistan's Supreme Court adjourned a contempt hearing for its prime minister on Thursday (January 19), leaving a brewing political crisis over corruption cases, presidential immunity, and the possible fate of the government, unresolved. Yusuf Raza Gilani was in court to explain why he should not be charged with contempt for failing to re-open old corruption cases against his boss, President Asif Ali Zardari. The government maintains Zardari enjoys presidential immunity. The immediate battle is about Gilani, but the larger political crisis is about Zardari and the fate of his government, the longest-running civilian administration in Pakistan's coup-marred history. If Gilani is charged with contempt of court for failing to follow court orders, he could be disqualified from office and forced to resign. That would further increase the pressure on the unpopular civilian government and the risk of instability in the nuclear-armed ally in America's war on militancy. Thursday's adjournment did nothing to settle the issue, and was mainly to allow Gilani to explain his position. After the hearing, a confident-looking Gilani appeared outside the court smiling and waving. Television stations reported that the court agreed that he would not have to appear again personally before the court, when it reconvenes on Feb. 1.