ISLAMABAD: While adjourning the hearing of the contempt case against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani till april 13, Friday, the Supreme Court directed the premier’s counsel Aitzaz Ahsan to complete his evidence by Wednesday, April 18.
Aitzaz however said that he cannot promise if he would be able to complete his evidence by the date given.
Speaking to the media on the premises of the Supreme Court after the hearing, Aitzaz said that the emphasis of his arguments during today’s hearing was mainly upon the Article 10 (a) of the Constitution, which says that every citizen of Pakistan has a right to fair trial.
“Any judge, who takes notice of any incident, without a petition filed or an FIR registered, automatically becomes a complainant in the case and hence is not eligible to hear the case.”
He reiterated that President Asif Ali Zardari’s enjoys immunity during his presidential tenure. “I don’t deny when people say [the $7 million in the Swiss banks] that it is public money and should be brought back to the country, let [President] Zardari’s tenure be over, then he could be tried.”
“As long as he [Zardari] is the president, he enjoys immunity and cannot be presented before any international magistrate.”
He said that if the president is sent before any international magistrate then in the future “anyone else could be summoned” by an international magistrate as well. “Today it is Zardari, tomorrow, it might be any other elected president or prime minister, even an army chief or the chief justice.”
“He is an elected, constitutional president, not an army general who came into power by force.”
Aitzaz was presenting evidence before a seven-member bench of the Supreme Court which resumed the hearing of the contempt case against the premier.
He argued that the contempt of court ordinance of 2003 is obsolete and that a new ordinance was presented in 2004.
The premier’s counsel also said that his client had acted according to the summary sent by the Ministry of Law. He also argued if holding the prime minister in contempt is right or not.
The last hearing on March 27, was adjourned by the Supreme Court due to Aitzaz’s illness.
More in PakistanFrom: The executive editor