Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for the premier in the contempt of court case, was unable to attend Monday’s proceedings, citing health reasons.
The result can be that the case may run into April now.
Aitzaz submitted a sick leave application to the Supreme Court (SC) citing ‘food poisoning’ as the cause behind his absence, maintained his assistant Barrister Gauhar.
A seven-member bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk was due to hear the case today.
The court accepted the application and adjourned the hearing till Tuesday (today), but not before Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk remarked: “Had he (Aitzaz) listened to us, he would not have been struck with food poisoning.”
Aitzaz’s assistant replied that it was sheer coincidence that he was unwell pointing out that the barrister had never missed any hearing in his 40-year-long illustrious career.
He then asked the bench to adjourn the hearing for a week.
Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk rejected the plea, observing that the court could not adjourn the case for such a long time.
“We want to dispose of the case as soon as possible; we have others to hear as well,” he remarked.
The justice also advised Aitzaz to take a ‘heavy dose’ of medicine to ensure his presence in the next hearing.
During the last session, Aitzaz had asked the court to adjourn the next hearing till April.
However, the court had turned down the request.
Aitzaz had then insisted that he be spared from Monday’s hearing.
Upon that, Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk had said that the case would be heard on a regular basis, adding that Aitzaz should conclude his arguments in the next session.
The SC initiated contempt proceedings against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for failing to act on the apex court’s orders to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2012.
More in PakistanPakistan, Islam and the West: Get mad, says Irfan Husain, but at the atrocities at home first