Supreme Court to review Gilani’s contempt in Pakistan

Islamabad, February 01, 2012: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has observed that it may review Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s contempt of court notice if he writes to Swiss authorities for reopening of corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. A seven-member apex court bench, headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, heard the case on Thursday.  

Urging the government to implement apex court verdict on National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in its letter and spirit, the bench observed that the court have no intention to send premier of the country to jail. The apex court had ordered the government to write a letter to Swiss government for reopening corruption cases and issued contempt of court notice to the premier for non-compliance of court order.    

The court has exempted Prime Minister Gilani from appearing in the court in contempt charges after he faced the jury on January 19 amid tight security and protocol. Veteran lawyer and PM Gilani’s counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan pleaded that President Zardari enjoys immunity, which is the main reason cited by the government not to ask the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against the President.

Lawyer argued that PM has not committed any contempt of court by not ordering National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for reopening cases of Swiss accounts kept by Benazir Bhutto and President Zardari which according to him enjoys immunity in the country and abroad under Article 248 of the Constitution. During the course of hearing, Aitzaz said PM Gilani did not write to Swiss officials keeping in view President Zardair’s immunity, as he was advised by his law secretary for this step.

“The Prime Minister himself can’t read the detailed verdict issued by the court in National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case, therefore, he is assisted by his advisors and subordinates who proposed him not to write to Swiss authorities,” the lawyer argued.

To which, Justice Nasir said that earlier the PM had said it was his own decision and that no one advised him. “The PM gave a priority to his subordinates over the court verdict and did not write the letter. He acts upon advices of his subordinate officials but not on the apex court rulings. This step is not an evidence of PM’s goodwill and sincerity.”

Justice Asif Saeed Khaosa, a member of the bench, said: “the PM has said he is ready to go to jail, instead of writing letter to Swiss authorities. Isn’t it the contempt of court?” He observed that the court has not intension to send the PM to jail. “We just want NRO verdict to be implemented and for that Mr. Gilani must write the letter.”

Aitzaz said the apex court severed contempt notice to PM Gilani but never issued any notice to him for implementation of the NRO verdict. “There is a sound reasoning for not acting upon the court orders as PM enjoys immunity for discharging this duty.” At which Justice Nasir said contempt notice is associated with the immunity so there is no need for carrying on the contempt case proceeding if government proves immunity for the president.

To which Airzaz replied: “Satisfy the court on Article 248 is not mandatory during the initial hearing.” About the immunity protection, the jury said President should approach the court for his claims of having immunity.

During the hearing, an interesting situation developed when Aitzaz, the lawyer of PM, used the word “accused” for Gilani. However, Justice Asif Saeed corrected it saying that the word can’t be used for the PM before any charge-sheet is presented against him. The court later, adjourned hearing of the case till Thursday Feb. 02.

One Response to Supreme Court to review Gilani’s contempt in Pakistan

  1. Taron 14 February , 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Four score and seven minutes ago, I read a sweet article. Lol tnhaks

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