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Pakistani court delays charges against Prime Minister

ISLAMABAD — In a rare conciliatory move toward the civilian-led government, Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday delayed until at least Sept. 18 the pressing of contempt charges against Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf that could lead to his dismissal from office.

Appearing in court, Ashraf sought more time to resolve the issue of a court order requiring him to write to the authorities in Switzerland and ask that they reopen dormant corruption charges there against his party’s chief, President Asif Ali Zardari.

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A similar court order led to the undoing of Ashraf’s predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was ousted in June after he refused to comply.

Behind it all is a bitter rivalry between Zardari and the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who has pushed his court to new heights of judicial activism in a campaign against Zardari and other officials of the governing Pakistan Peoples Party.

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