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Premier gets boost from speaker

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s parliament speaker says she has decided that a conviction for contempt against Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani doesn’t mean he has to step down.

Thursday’s remarks by Speaker Fehmida Mirza are a boost for Mr. Gilani, though they were not surprising since the two are political allies.

Mr. Gilani was convicted April 16 for refusing to open a dormant corruption probe against his boss, President Asif Ali Zardari.

The case has heightened political conflict in Pakistan as tensions mount with the United States over the future of the Afghan war.

In Pakistan, the parliament speaker decides whether a lawmaker - in this case the prime minister - must resign if there is a conviction against him.

Mr. Mirza’s decision could yet be subject to legal challenge.

NEPAL

Court rejects delay on constitution

KATMANDU — Nepal’s highest court has ordered that the government finish the country’s long-awaited new constitution by the Sunday deadline.

The decision could force new elections if a political deadlock is not broken.

The Supreme Court rejected the administration’s proposal for a three-month extension for the Constituent Assembly charged with writing the constitution.

Judge Khila Raj Regmi issued the order Thursday in response to three writs filed against the government’s plan to extend the assembly. It was elected in 2008 with a two-year term, which already has been extended four times.

The assembly is unlikely to finish the constitution by Sunday. The political parties are deadlocked on thorny issues such as marking and naming the proposed federal states.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports