Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani guilty in a contempt of court case

Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani guilty of contempt

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has found Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani guilty in a contempt of court case.

The three-month trial ended on Tuesday when defence and prosecution counsels concluded their arguments.

Mr Gilani had denied that he had been in contempt for failing to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The prime minister could face up to six months in jail and could also be barred from office.

Mr Gilani had argued that the president, who rejects the corruption charges, has immunity as head of state.

Arriving at the Supreme Court on Thursday morning, Mr Gilani was surrounded by media and his supporters, some of whom showered him with rose petals.

“We are satisfied with the input given by our lawyers and we are also satisfied with the input by the attorney general,” Mr Gilani told the cabinet in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Mr Gilani, who has appeared before the court twice this year, had previously said he would have to step down if he is found guilty.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani guilty in a contempt of court case

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani guilty in a contempt of court case

The case is part of a stand-off between the government and the judiciary, which many believe is being backed by the military as it pursues the case against the civilian administration.

President Zardari is accused of using Swiss bank accounts to launder bribes. He has long said the charges are politically motivated.

The Supreme Court has said Mr Gilani defied a court order to write to the Swiss authorities and ask them to reopen the cases against Mr Zardari.

The defence counsel’s main argument was that the case in Switzerland had been closed by a Swiss judge “on merit” and there was no justification to apply for its revival.

The defence also argued that Mr Zardari has international immunity against criminal proceedings for as long as he is president. Mr Gilani’s team had argued that there is, therefore, no legal evidence to find the prime minister in contempt.

The prime minister has the right to appeal the conviction.

His government’s battle with the Supreme Court began shortly after Mr Zardari took office in 2008.

In early 2009 the Supreme Court overturned an amnesty dating from the period of former President Pervez Musharraf which protected President Zardari and hundreds of other politicians from being prosecuted for corruption.


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