Pakistan Supreme Court to hear Gilani's appeal in contempt case
Islamabad: It is a crucial day for Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as the country's supreme court is all set to hear an intra-court appeal requesting it to suspend its decision of framing contempt charges over his failure to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
The 200-page intra-court appeal, filed yesterday by Mr Gilani's lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, asked the court to suspend its decision summoning the Premier on February 13. Mr Ahsan told reporters outside the court that he had based the appeal on precedents set by apex courts in India, Australia, Britain, France and the US.
In India, there is a provision of filing a review petition against the Supreme Court's order. "I have filed an appeal. I have quoted more than 50 national and international cases and given specific reasons against the Supreme Court's order," Mr Ahsan had said. He also 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 had said.
The court has constituted an eight-member bench to hear the appeal. Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry will head that bench.
On February 2, a seven-judge bench of the top court had summoned Mr Gilani to appear on February 13 to be indicted for contempt over his failure to act on its order to pursue corruption cases against President Zardari. It added to the tensions between the government and the judiciary.
If Mr Gilani is convicted of contempt, he could be jailed for up to six months and disqualified from holding public office for five years.