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No appeal to be filed against PM conviction, says Aitzaz

May 26, 2012


Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan. – File photo

LAHORE: No appeal would be filed against the Supreme Court's decision convicting Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt of court, DawnNews quoted Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan as saying on Saturday.

Rejecting the apex court's verdict against Gilani, the premier's counsel in the case said that the decision of not filing the appeal was made after thorough consultation among the leadership of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

“The decision not to file the appeal (against conviction) has been taken after consultations by the party leadership,” Ahsan told reporters in Lahore.

Moreover, speaking to media representatives in Lahore, the barrister said that after reviewing aspects of the case Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza had decided not to forward the disqualification reference against the prime minister to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Ahsan said that he had prepared the appeal and was ready to file it in the Supreme Court when Gilani called him late Friday and told him not to do so after the speaker's ruling a day before.

“The prime minister has served his sentence, but he has not been disqualified,” Ahsan said.

Ahsan said the court had not referred to any charges against the prime minister relating to defaming the judiciary, adding that, there was a difference between the charges of contempt of court and those pertaining to ridiculing the court.

He further said that the prime minister could not be disqualified on the basis of a 30 second sentencing.

Speaker's ruling

Earlier on Thursday, Mirza rejected the March 30, 2012 reference sent to her office by Moulvi Iqbal Haider under clause (2) of Article 63. In it, Haider had prayed that the question regarding the prime minister’s disqualification be referred to the ECP, since Gilani had already become disqualified from membership in the National Assembly as a result of the Supreme Court conviction.

“I am of the view that the charges against Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani do not give grounds for a disqualification under paragraph (g) or (h) of the Constitution’s Article 63. And the Supreme Court has not framed any charge claiming the propagation of any opinion, acting in any manner against the independence of the judiciary or ridiculing the judiciary as stipulated under Article 63 (1) (g),” the speaker said.


On April 26, Prime Minister Gilani was convicted for contempt of court for not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities for reopening money laundering cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The main question that arose after the conviction was whether it meant automatic disqualification of the prime minister as a member of parliament or whether this would happen only if the National Assembly speaker sent a disqualification reference to the ECP under Article 63(2) of the constitution.