Son of Pakistan's sacked PM elected to parliament

The eldest son of Pakistan's sacked prime minister has been elected to parliament to replace his father, a month after he was dismissed by the Supreme Court for contempt.

Abdul Qadir Gilani won a by-election on Thursday in the family constituency in the central town of Multan, after Yousuf Raza Gilani was dismissed for refusing to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

State television said Gilani won 64,628 votes, comfortably beating his closest rival, Shaukat Bosan, an independent candidate who secured 60,532 votes.

Opposition parties led by the Pakistan Muslim League-N of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party had backed Bosan.

Television channels broadcast footage of the former prime minister Gilani being garlanded with roses and celebrating the victory.

His son said the people had spoken.

"The court dismissed my father and we came to the court of people. This court has announced its verdict in my favour and I am thankful to you," he told supporters.

Zardari congratulated Gilani junior, saying "it is the people and the people alone who pronounce the final verdict and are not afraid of overturning all other judgments".

The Supreme Court last week gave new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf until July 25 to indicate whether he would write to the Swiss authorities to reopen the cases which were shelved in 2008 when Zardari became president.

It threatened Ashraf with "appropriate action under the constitution and the law" if he fails to comply, fuelling speculation that Zardari's Pakistan People's Party may be forced to call general elections later this year.

The allegations against Zardari date back to the 1990s, when he and his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, allegedly used Swiss banks to launder $12 million allegedly paid in bribes by companies seeking customs inspection contracts.

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