WASHINGTON - A US State Department spokesman on Wednesday sidestepped a question about Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's legitimacy following his court conviction, saying the matter was being addressed in a "legitimate and democratic" manner.

"I think we’ve been very clear that we view this as an internal domestic issue but one that is falling on a clear democratic track, that it’s progressing within the Pakistani judicial system and that it’s being addressed in a legitimate and democratic fashion by the Pakistani judicial system," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at the daily briefing.

He was responding to a question as why the the United states was silent over Prime minister Gilani's refusal to step down after his conviction by the Supreme Court as required under  Pakistan's Constitution..

"(W)e don’t have any real comment on what is a domestic political issue," Toner said.

But when the questioner persisted, citing the Constitution repeatedly, the spokesman added, "I’m not an expert on the Pakistani Constitution. All that I can say is this case has moved forward through the Pakistani judicial system in a way that we view as consistent with Pakistan’s democratic values and in a transparent manner."