Possible coup in Pakistan? 4 key questions
3. Doesn’t President Zardari enjoy immunity from prosecution?
The government says he does, but the Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that the National Reconciliation Ordinance, a political amnesty signed by former leader Pervez Musharraf and the late Benazir Bhutto, Zardari’s husband, is not valid – casting a legal shadow on Zardari’s presidency and uncertainty on what would happen to him if the court rules he’s guilty of past crimes.
Prime Minister Gilani, on the other hand, does not enjoy immunity, and if he is found guilty of contempt of court for not reopening corruption cases against Zardari, faces dismissal, jail time, and a bar from public office.
On Monday, Mr. Gilani, who finds himself at the center of the clash between the institutions, received a welcome boost when parliament passed a pro-democracy resolution calling for the military and Supreme Court to remain within their constitutional limits.
Still, the government’s position is precarious and many expect snap elections before the government’s five-year tenure is up in February 2013.