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Pakistan PM Yousuf Raza Gilani charged with contempt

13 February 2012 06:32 am - 9     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Mr. Gilani is accused of failing to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The prime minister, who faces jail and being barred from office if convicted, pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Gilani argues that the president, who denies the corruption charges, has immunity as head of state.

President Zardari is accused of using Swiss bank accounts to launder bribes.

The Supreme Court has said Mr. Gilani defied a court order to write to the Swiss authorities and ask them to re-open the cases against Mr. Zardari.

Mr. Gilani is expected to argue that he received legal advice that it would have been unconstitutional to pursue the cases.

Mr. Zardari says the charges against him are politically motivated.

Helicopters hovered overhead and hundreds of riot police were guarding the Supreme Court as Mr. Gilani arrived.

Lengthy process
The case has now been adjourned until 28 February. Mr. Gilani will not have to appear on that date.

This could now become a lengthy process as even if Mr. Gilani is convicted, he will have the right to appeal, reports the BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad.

The case is part of a stand-off between the government and the judiciary, which many believe is being backed by the military as it pursues the case against the civilian administration.

Many are concerned that the case will distract Mr. Gilani's focus from Pakistan's many complex problems to his own survival, our correspondent adds.

"It's a sad day for Pakistan," Qamar Zaman Kaira, a senior member of Mr. Zardari and Mr. Gilani's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), said outside court, according to AFP.

In 2009 the Supreme Court overturned an amnesty dating from the period of former President Pervez Musharraf which protected President Zardari and hundreds of other politicians from being prosecuted for corruption.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera television last week, Mr. Gilani acknowledged he would have to stand down if convicted.

"If I'm convicted, then I'm not even supposed to be a member of the parliament," he said. (Source: BBC)

  Comments - 9

  • Thaha Muzammil Monday, 13 February 2012 07:07 AM

    Hats off to courageous judges of SC of Pakistan and its legal system as the maxim goes NONE IS ABOVE THE LAW.

    Jamis Banda Monday, 13 February 2012 07:09 AM

    Amazing... Will such thing ever happen in Sri Lanka with any politician attached to whatever ruling party ?

    Jagath Monday, 13 February 2012 07:33 AM

    Will this ever happen in Sri Lanka ??

    AMG Monday, 13 February 2012 07:49 AM

    Incorruptible judges! unfortunately our judges have to dance to the tune of... !

    Hoodwink Monday, 13 February 2012 08:07 AM

    Just try this in Sri Lanka.- result - the judge will end up in a white van or his term not extended

    Lanka Muslim, UK Monday, 13 February 2012 08:25 AM

    This is a good example of people who are entrusted with responsibilities assert their right of discharging their responsibilities without cowing down to any pressure whatever the consequences they might face. Will those in Sri Lanka take the hint.

    manjula Monday, 13 February 2012 09:33 AM

    You people don't see the problem here. In Pakistan, military is more influential in society. not the politicians. So this is not about unbiased judges. This is a case about judges biased towards military.

    Rattapakse Monday, 13 February 2012 10:27 AM

    Oh yes, your were visited by our boss!!

    Samayan Monday, 13 February 2012 10:34 AM

    any thing happen to Male,Pakistan or elsewhere you want it to be happen Srilanka.Real jokers

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