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Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, charged with contempt

Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was today charged with contempt in the country's Supreme Court after refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president.

Pakistan pm gilani charged contemptEnlarge
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani waves as he arrive at the Supreme Court in Islamabad on February 13, 2012. (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan's prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was today charged with contempt in the country's Supreme Court after refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president, Bloomberg reported.

More on GlobalPost: Pakistan Supreme Court to indict Prime Minister Gilani

The move could see Gilani, Pakistan’s first premier to be charged while in office, jailed for six months and forced from power.

Gilani was charged within minutes of appearing at the court, in the capital Islamabad, which was under guard by riot police, Pakistan's Dawn.com news site reported.

Judge Nasir ul-Mulk said Gilani had “wilfully flouted, disregarded and disobeyed” orders from the Supreme Court over re-opening alleged laundered money cases.

Gilani, who has pled not guilty, has maintained that he did not ask Swiss authorities to investigate the president, Asif Ali Zardari, because he enjoyed immunity from prosecution as Pakistan's head of state.

Zardari is accused of using Swiss bank accounts to launder bribes, but denies the charges, the BBC reported.

More on GlobalPost: Pakistan Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, appears before Supreme Court

It is understood that Gilani will likely argue that it would have been unconstitutional to pursue the cases, according to legal advice he received following the court's request.

The case was adjourned until Feb. 28, when Gilani will not be required to appear.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/120213/pakistan-prime-minister-yousuf-raza-gilani-charged-contempt-court