SC hears evidence against Gilani in contempt case
ISLAMABAD PAKISTAN’S attorney-general on Wednesday presented the prosecution’s case against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who is charged with contempt for allegedly violating court orders on graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
After hearing Attorney- General Maulvi Anwarul Haq’s arguments, the Supreme Court adjourned until Tuesday when the defence is to argue its case.
The attorney-general’s statement was also recorded and he presented the attested copies of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict.
However, the substance of the evidence submitted by the attorney-general was not released to the media.
A seven-member bench of apex court headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk would examine the proofs submitted by the attorney-general against the prime minister.
Maulvi Anwarul Haq had been asked by the court to act as the prosecutor in the case. The next date of hearing has been fixed for February 28.
The apex court had issued Gilani a contempt notice January 16.
Gilani had appeared before the Supreme Court on January 19 in the contempt case for not acting against Zardari for corruption and defended his move, saying that the constitution provided immunity to the president. The apex court had warned the government of action if its ruling on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which granted immunity to politicians and bureaucrats in corruption cases, was not implemented by January 10, 2012.
Gilani has been charged with flouting a court order to write to Swiss authorities to ask them to start investigations into money-laundering cases involving 60 million dollars against Zardari, who heads the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, to which the premier also belongs.
The charges date back to the 1990s when Zardari’s wife, Benazir Bhutto, served two terms as prime minister.
They were withdrawn by Swiss authorities at the request of the Pakistani government under a national reconciliation ordinance in 2007.
The order involved a deal between Zardari’s party and former military strongman Pervez Musharraf, under which he and several other people were granted immunity from corruption and other criminal charges.
Gilani said he could not ask the Swiss authorities to reopen the cases because Zardari enjoys immunity under Pakistani law.
If convicted, the premier could face a prison term and lose his post, which would further weaken the political situation in a country struggling against Islamist insurgents along the Afghan border and burdened with economic problems.