Islamabad, Apr 27: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has refused to step down after his contempt of court conviction, saying only parliament can remove him from office.
“Parliament is the supreme authority, and only this parliament has the authority to remove me,” he said in the National Assembly, a day after the Supreme Court verdict.
“I am ready to quit if this parliament disqualifies me,” he added.
Gilani is facing opposition calls to quit after the Supreme Court convicted him for refusing to write to authorities in Switzerland and asking them to reopen a multimillion-dollar graft probe against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) members staged a walk out from the assembly, but Gilani challenged the PML-N to “bring a vote of no confidence” against him.
The Dawn quoted Gilani, as saying that he has protected the Constitution of Pakistan, and adding that he was convicted “for protecting the Constitution”.
The corruption allegations against Zardari date back to the 1990s, when he and his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, were suspected of using Swiss bank accounts to launder about 12 million dollars allegedly paid in bribes by companies seeking customs inspection contracts.
The Swiss shelved the cases in 2008 when Zardari became president and a prosecutor in Switzerland has said it will be impossible to re-open them as long as he remains head of state and so is immune from prosecution. (ANI)