Gilani stands behind Zardari, says asking him to resign is 'double jeopardy'

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Islamabad, Dec.19 (ANI): Expressing solidarity with under fire President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has made it clear that the Supreme Court's judgement declaring the amnesty law (NRO) as 'unconstitutional' would not have any effect on the Presidency.

Interacting with reporters after addressing an interfaith Christmas dinner here, Gilani, while defending Zardari, said it would be highly unfair to ask the president to step down due the charges levelled against him for which he has already spent 12 years in jail.

"Swiss authorities have themselves said... they would not initiate case against Zardari. What about all those 12 long years the president spent in jails? It is called 'double jeopardy'," The Daily Times quoted Gilani, as saying.

Gilani came down hard on people demanding Zardari's resignation, saying why the name of former President General Pervez Musharraf and former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz were not being mentioned despite the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) being the brainchild of these two leaders.

The Prime Minister said he respects the apex court's judgement adding that court will only decide the fate of tainted officials and ministers.

Responding to a question that whether he was thinking of dismantling the National Accountability Bureau and setting up an another similar organisation, Gilani said he has prepared a draft in this regard.

"I have sent the draft of the proposed accountability law to Nawaz Sharif for his input so that it can be approved by parliament at the earliest," he said.

When enquired as to why the government had not tried to defend the NRO in the court, he said: "We did not defend the NRO in the court because we knew its fallout and are in the process of sorting out the matter."

Gilani also rebutted reports about differences with Zardari.

"It is my prerogative to constitute the cabinet, while Zardari runs the party. Hence there is no question of any differences," he told mediapersons.

Gilani also parried a question about arrest warrant issued against Interior Minister Rehman Malik, saying: "Who will arrest him. He is the one who arrests people." (ANI)

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