World Bulletin / News Desk
Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, the latest twist in a long-running confrontation between the judiciary and the government.
Pakistan's previous prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, was disqualified from his job by the Supreme Court last month after he was convicted of contempt of court for failing to restart work on the cases against the president, who also heads the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
The Supreme Court asked Ashraf, who replaced Gilani, to submit a report on compliance with its orders by July 25.
"Failing which, the court may initiate any appropriate action in accordance with the law," Justice Asif Khosa said, reading out the court's order.
Thousands of corruption cases were thrown out in 2007 under an amnesty law passed by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, paving the way for a return to civilian rule.
Two years later, the Supreme Court ruled that agreement illegal, and ordered the re-opening of money laundering cases against Zardari.
The government has refused to obey that order, arguing that Zardari has immunity as the head of state. Zardari denies any wrongdoing, and says the cases were politically motivated.
Earlier on Thursday, hours before the Supreme Court was due to resume proceedings in the case, Zardari signed into law a controversial bill exempting senior officials from contempt of court charges, in an apparent attempt to shield Prime Minister Ashraf from the charges faced by his predecessor.
Opposition parties have threatened to challenge the new law, saying it is against the spirit of the constitution.
The government is reluctant to release figures on casualties, but more than 4,000 police and soldiers were killed fighting Taliban in 2013 and this year's toll is expected to be higher.
Nusra Front captured several villages in the Jabal al-Zawiya region of Idlib province and it entered the village of Deir Sonbol, the stronghold of the Revolutionaries' Front
The United States is mounting a diplomatic offensive to stop Hungary selling a stake in a Croatian energy firm to Russia
China passed a counter-espionage law on Saturday aimed at tightening state security
Junta leader and PM Prayuth Chan-ocha is a dollar millionaire; while deputy-pm has $42 million in assets
To reach Burqa, one must pass through seven other Palestinian villages and cross under a highway – which Palestinians are barred from using – that leads to the Israeli settlements.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says domestic intelligence is going through reforms following its failures in preventing neo-Nazi murders between 2000 and 2007
Friday's military coup in Burkina Faso is only the latest chapter in a decades-long pattern of coups
Israeli authorities reopened Al-Aqsa on Friday following a day of violent clashes with Palestinian protesters, but barred male worshippers under 50 years old
European Union's new executive body with one commissioner from each of the 28 EU member states officially takes office on Saturday.
China has not started legal proceedings against former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, the highest-profile figure to be caught in a government crackdown on corruption
The United States imposed sanctions on a prominent lawmaker and businessman in Myanmar for undermining economic and political reforms in the country
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that Germany was ready to help train Iraqi Kurdish as well as Sunni forces in Iraq to fight ISIL insurgents
The sixth country in West Africa, including Mali, hit by the worst Ebola outbreak on record, according to the WHO
The proposed 'integration' treaty between Russia and the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia violates international law, say co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe