SC reserves verdict in PM contempt case

April 24, 2012

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supreme-court
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: A seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict in the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, DawnNews reported.

The verdict would be announced on Thursday and the prime minister has also been summoned for the occasion.

“The court will announce judgment in the case on Thursday (April 26)”, the prime minister’s counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, told reporters in Islamabad.

Asked if the prime minister will appear in person, he said: “I will inform him about it today and he will, God willing, come to the court.”

Ahsan said he was hopeful the judges would acquit his client.

Earlier during Tuesday’s hearing, newly-appointed Attorney General Pakistan Irfan Qadir claimed that no law addressing contempt of court existed in Pakistan.

Qadir made the claim while presenting his arguments in the contempt of court case.

He further said that a contempt of court ordinance was promulgated in the country in July 2003 but that it had expired in December 2003.

The attorney general moreover said that it was the prosecution’s duty to ensure that no one innocent was penalised.

The attorney general said that no evidence existed against the premier and nor would writing the letter to Swiss authorities have led to reopening of cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Qadir further said that the apex court did not directly order Prime Minister Gilani to write to authorities in Switzerland.

He also said that a section of the media was misreporting the details of the case and was creating misunderstandings between the government and the judiciary.

Moreover, the premier's counsel said that the court should not insist on writing to Swiss authorities as that would undermine the federation.

Ahsan said the president symbolised the federation and was also the armed forces' supreme commander.

"This is why while Asif Zardari is the president, the court should not insist on writing the letter and absolve the prime minister of the charge levelled against him," Ahsan said.

Prime Minister Gilani was charged with contempt of court on Feb 13 over the government’s two-year refusal to write to authorities in Switzerland asking them to re-open corruption cases against President Zardari.

A guilty verdict could result in Yousuf Raza Gilani losing his job and serving up to six months in prison.