ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday indicted Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for contempt of court in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case.
A two-page charge sheet was read out by Justice Nasirul Mulk, who headed the seven-member bench hearing the case.
The charge sheet said that the prime minister had violated Article 204 of the Constitution by not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities as ordered by the court. It added that the prime minister also violated paragraph 178 of the court’s verdict in the NRO implementation case.
Gilani pleaded not guilty and sought more time in the case. But, the court ordered Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to prosecute the prime minister and present more documents and proof to the court.
Gilani’s lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan told the court that he will present his arguments on February 22, while Gilani was ordered to bring sufficient evidence by February 27.
The prime minister was exempted from further hearings while the hearing was adjourned till February 22.
Prime Minister Gilani was served a contempt notice in the NRO implementation case when the government did not follow the court’s orders of writing a letter to the Swiss authority to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwart Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan is serving as Gilani’s lawyer in the case.
The Supreme Court has said it will only drop the summons if Gilani obeys its order to write to the Swiss authorities, asking them to re-open the cases.
If convicted, Gilani faces six months in jail and disqualification from office in a case that has fanned political instability and may force elections within months.
CORRECTION: An earlier headline mistakenly said that Gilani has been found guilty of contempt by the court. However, as of right now, only contempt charges have been framed. The error is regretted.