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The scandal involves an unsigned memo that purportedly sought U.S. help to check the Pakistani military’s power and prevent a coup. A Pakistani-American businessman said last year that he received the memo from a Pakistani official to deliver to Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, who was chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Pakistani government has denied any involvement with the memo.

The timing of the court’s action against Mr. Gilani has raised eyebrows in Washington and Islamabad, coming more than two years after it struck down the National Reconciliation Order, which gave thousands of politicians, including the president, amnesty from corruption probes.

“The order that provided immunity to Mr. Zardari from these charges was struck down by the Supreme Court over two years ago, so why is the court pressing the issue now?” said Lisa Curtis, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

The court does not have the power to impeach the president. That power rests with the parliament, where Mr. Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party holds the majority.

In parliament, Mr. Gilani praised the passage of the pro-democracy resolution.

The resolution’s passage is good news for the government, Kamran Shafi, a columnist with Pakistan’s Express Tribune, said in a phone interview from Islamabad. “It should strengthen the hands of the government,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mansoor Ijaz, the businessman in the Memogate scandal, failed to appear Monday before the inquiry commission.

Mr. Ijaz’s attorney said his client does not yet have a visa to visit Pakistan and faces a threat to his life, but will appear before the commission on Jan. 25. The Pakistani army has said it will provide Mr. Ijaz with protection while he is in the country.

Mr. Ijaz has implicated Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, as an architect of the memo. Mr. Haqqani has denied any role in the scandal. But he resigned from his post and returned to Pakistan, where he faces an investigation, and fears for his life.

The inquiry commission also was told that Mr. Haqqani’s BlackBerry smartphone, which he allegedly used to correspond with Mr. Ijaz, was lost.

Meanwhile, a prominent Pakistani opposition leader has defended the judiciary’s actions against the government.

Imran Khan, the cricketer turned political leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said Pakistan is heading in a positive direction.

“We have a real chance at change in Pakistan. … Only change can protect this country,” he told an Atlantic Council audience via videoconference Friday.

A recent Gallup Poll found that 62 percent of Pakistanis surveyed said the Supreme Court is not overstepping its mandate. Fourteen percent disagreed.

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