17 Jan 2012

Pakistan leader ordered to appear before Supreme Court

6:08 pm on 17 January 2012

The Supreme Court in Pakistan has issued a contempt notice to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, ordering him to appear before the court for failing to pursue long running corruption cases against the president and other officials.

The move could throw the country deeper into crisis.

A notice issued by the full bench of seven hjudges stated they were left with no option, as a first step.

It says the prime minister should appear personally in court on 19 January.

The deadline for the government to reopen the corruption cases expired on Monday and government representatives were summoned to court to explain what they planned to do.

A vote of confidence in Pakistan's political leadership is also scheduled on Monday in parliament.

And another court hearing into an anonymous memo which asked for

US help to avert an army coup in Pakistan, in the wake of the killing of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011, has also resumed.

The BBC reports there is intense political uncertainty in Pakstan, with the government at loggerheads with country's powerful military as well as the judiciary.

There have been three military coups since independence in 1947.