Angered by his defiance of its order to reopen graft cases against the President,Pakistan Supreme Court on Thursday summoned PM Yousuf Raza Gilani to appear before it next week when it will charge him with contempt.
If Gilani,59,is convicted in the contempt case,he will be disqualified from holding any public office for five years. He will also have the right to appeal any order convicting him within a period of 30 days.
A seven-judge bench led by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk issued the order against Gilani after an intense hearing,during which the Premiers lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan said Gilani had not committed contempt by not acting on the SC orders as President Zardari had immunity from prosecution within Pakistan and abroad.
We are satisfied that prima facie there is a case for further proceeding into the matter. Adjourned for February 13,for framing charges. PM is required to remain present in the court, Mulk said.
The courts move is likely to plunge Gilanis fragile government into a deeper crisis and lead to early polls,originally scheduled for 2013.
The court has ordered the framing of charges against Gilani for contempt of court on February 13. He will be present, Ahsan said.
Meanwhile,Gilani told the parliament on Thursday that he would appear before the Supreme Court next week.
I want to assure you that I appeared when the court summoned me earlier and I will appear again if they say so. If we do not respect institutions,then who will? Gilani said as members of the treasury benches in the National Assembly,or lower house of parliament,thumped their desks.
Everybody should follow the Constitution. And if all institutions do their work while remaining within the limits of the Constitution,then there will be no criticism, he added.
Pak hospital rejects Zardari adoption request
Lahore: Authorities in Punjab province handed over a one-year-old abandoned girl to a childless couple after refusing seven other hopefuls,including President Asif Ali Zardari,who wanted the baby for his sister Faryal Talpur. Zardari applied in a letter dated January 25,addressed to Medical Superintendent Afzal Shaheen. It stated: President of Pakistan has been pleased to direct that subject girl child may be handed over to Mrs Faryal Talpur,Member (of the) National Assembly,and sister of the President. His application was turned down.