Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday offered to resign shortly after the Supreme Court served him a notice for contempt of court for failing to reopen graft cases against the President.
The court has ordered Gilani to appear before it in person on January 19.
As per Pakistani news channels, Gilani told a meeting of top leaders of the Pakistan People\\\’s Party and its partners in the ruling coalition that he was ready to quit if the step strengthened the government and parliament.
PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira, Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Shah and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi of the PML-Q, a key partner in the coalition, were being considered as possible replacements for Gilani in the event of his resignation.
Gilani convened the meeting of the PPP and its allies hours ahead of a crucial session of parliament that will vote on a resolution to shore up the civilian government.
President Asif Ali Zardari too joined the meeting.
PPP\\\’s top leadership had discussed the premier\\\’s resignation as a possible measure to ease the government\\\’s standoff with the judiciary and the military.
The judiciary has been pressuring the government to reopen cases of alleged money laundering against Zardari since December 2009, when it struck down a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
The apex court has also accepted the military\\\’s request for ordering a probe into the alleged memo that had sought US help to stave off a possible coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May last year.