Pakistan: Supreme Court Rejects PM Gilani’s Appeal

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s appeal against indictment summons.

Supreme Court rejects PM Gilani’s appeal

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s appeal against indictment summons.

An eight-member bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was hearing the case on Friday.

The Supreme Court earlier this month ordered Gilani to appear on February 13 to face indictment for the government’s two-year refusal to ask Swiss authorities to re-open graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

PM’s counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan was earlier asked to conclude his replies by 10 am today and the court asked Ahsan to seek instructions from the PM in order to assess whether he is willing to write a letter to the Swiss government.

Ahsan responded saying, “It may not be possible for the PM to seek instructions by Monday as he will require more time to do so.”

Throughout the hearing, Ahsan provided the members of court with citation from various cases pertaining to contempt of court charges, however the Chief Justice dismissed his arguments by saying that the precedents he mentioned are of civil nature whereas the current case is of criminal nature.

After Ahsan concluded has arguments, the Chief Justice announced a detailed verdict in which he recalled previous NRO hearings as well as the government’s refusal to correspond with the Swiss authorities. He also reiterated that the NRO was declared unconstitutional in December 2009 and all the corruption cases which were closed in Pakistan and abroad now stand reopen.

If convicted of contempt of court, Gilani faces up to six months in jail and being disqualified from office.