ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, while speaking during a session of the federal cabinet on Wednesday, said that he will appear in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for the contempt of court case hearing against him on Thursday.
The premier was charged with contempt by the apex court in February for refusing to write to the Swiss authorities to ask them to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
“The court has summoned me for the third time and I have decided to appear in the court tomorrow. I am doing this because I respect the judiciary and courts.”
The premier said that he was satisfied with his counsel Aitzaz Ahsan’s input in the proceedings of the case. Gilani also said that he was satisfied with Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir’s input.
“We respect the court and we will go. We should not react; whoever wants to accompany me during the hearing is most welcome,” he said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the cabinet will accompany him to the Supreme Court when the verdict will be announced.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the Supreme Court reserved its judgment, announcing it will unveil it on April 26.
A seven-member bench, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk, had Ahsan, to make sure that his client is present before the court on the day.
The prime minister has appeared twice before in court and has maintained his innocence throughout, saying he had done nothing against the rules of business. Aitzaz, meanwhile, had argued that the bench was not eligible to hear the case as it had taken the notice itself.
‘Supreme Court trying to put country’s economy at stake’
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Fawad Chaudhry has asked the Supreme Court to take into consideration the huge economic cost country may suffer due to political instability after its verdict in the prime minister contempt case.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Fawad said that according to the Constitution, the prime minister can only lose office if he resigns, or if there is a vote of no confidence, or if he no longer remains an MNA.
Any decision of the court does not entail automatic disqualification of the prime minister, but it means that he will continue to keep his office unless a reference is sent to Chief Election Commissioner for his disqualification, Fawad said.
He also reminded the court that under the contempt law, the prime minister also vests the right to appeal any adverse order. “In such situations it may take several months to decide the fate of new political set up.”
He said that the country’s economy would be hit and the life of ordinary man may be ‘severely disturbed’ if Supreme Court tries to force Gilani into leaving office.
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