Pakistan: Appeal Filed Against PM Gilani’s Contempt Charges

An intra-court appeal requesting the Supreme Court to suspend its decision of framing contempt charges against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was filed on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.

ISLAMABAD: An intra-court appeal requesting the Supreme Court to suspend its decision of framing contempt charges against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was filed on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani

On Feb 2, the apex court had issued summons for the premier for Feb 13 for him to be indicted with contempt over his refusal to pursue corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The announcement significantly escalated pressure on the embattled prime minister, threatening to plunge his weak government deeper into crisis and force early elections within months.

The appeal, filed by the prime minister’s counsel, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, requested the court to postpone the indictment.

It moreover said that the ruling was given without the premier being given an opportunity to defend himself directly.

Ahsan said he based the appeal on precedents set by top courts in Australia, Britain, France, India and the United States.

“I have filed an appeal today. I have quoted more than 50 national and international cases and given specific reasons against the Supreme Court order,” Ahsan told reporters.

A court official confirmed that the appeal had been received.

If convicted of contempt, the prime minister could be jailed for up to six months and disqualified from public office.

Ahsan called for an early hearing of the appeal.

“It depends on the court to stay the proceedings and decide against summoning the prime minister on February 13,” he said.