The Supreme Court has adjourned the contempt proceeding against the PM to February 1. The apex court has extended the deadline to submit answer in the case to February 1.
The court has also exempted the Prime Minister from appearing in the court in person. The counsel fot the PM aitzaz Ahsan will submit the answer on the February 1, 2012.
Earlier, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani appeared before the Supreme Court to respond to contempt of court proceedings.
A seven-member larger bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk is hearing the contempt of court notice.
Prime Minister Syed Youuf Raza Gilani came on rostrum and presented his views before the bench. He said that he had not given any impression that would entail contempt of court.
The PM told the court that the president enjoys immunity from prosecution in the 18th Amendment that’s why the letter was not written to the Swiss authorities.
"I have come today to show my respect to this court," Yousuf Raza Gilani told the Supreme Court in a statement. "It will not give a good message to proceed against a president who is elected by a two-thirds majority."
"There is complete immunity for head of states everywhere," he said.
"I have discussed this with my friends and experts, and they all agree that he has got complete immunity," Gilani added.
The PM said he spent six years in prison and was never reluctant to appear before the court which shows that he always respected the court. He said Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Nusrat Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto also appeared before the courts.
Gilani’s counsel Aitzaz Ahsan appeared before the bench and reiterated his stance that the president has immunity. The court replied saying that it has been asking the government since 2009 to act upon the case, but no one has come in all these years to talk about president’s immunity.
Ahsan added that the government should have written the letter to the Swiss authorities.
Aitzaz Ahsan said that one paragraph of the NRO verdict was related to the president, however, the Constitution gives him immunity and the court should see the Constitution’s restrictions in his case.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa inquired whether the government will write the letter or not, but Ahsan said that an inquiry can be held against President Asif Ali Zardari only when he is not the president.
Ahsan added that the Constitution gives immunity to the post of the president and not to Asif Ali Zardari in particular.
Justice Sarmad also inquired why the government has not been writing the letter since two years.
It is only the second time that the court has initiated contempt proceedings against a sitting prime minister.
The heads of the coalition partners, including PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Senior Federal Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, MQM parliamentary leader Dr Farooq Sattar, Fata parliamentary leader Munir Khan Orakzai, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa, Khyber-Paktunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kosar, cabinet members and senior PPP leaders is accompanying Prime Minister Gilani.
The Supreme Court had summoned Gilani to explain his refusal to ask Switzerland to re-open graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. Aitzaz Ahsan will defend the Prime Minister in the case.
On this ocassion security had been tightened in the Supreme Court. Additional CCTV cameras had been installed in the courtrooms as well as at public entry gates of the apex court. Special passes had been issued to the parties to the case and Prime Minister’s legal team.
Later, the the PM left the courtroom as the court adjourned the hearing till Feb 1. The PPP lawyers and workers received the PM and chanted slogans in favour of him and Pakistan People s Party outside the Supreme Court building.
Talking to media outside the Supreme Court after the hearing, Aitzaz Ahsan said that it was a big day for the law, Constitution and the judiciary of the country that the counrty’s prime minister came to the court himself.
“This indicates the majesty of the law and the majesty of the Supremre Court,” he added.
SC puts off contempt hearing to Feb 1. Reviewed by Sarah Peracha on 11:17:00 PM Rating: