Gilani contempt case: SC adjourns hearing

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani`s counsel Aitzaz Ahsan was ill with food poisoning.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Monday adjourned till tomorrow contempt proceedings against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as his counsel Aitzaz Ahsan was unwell.

A seven-judge bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk is hearing the contempt of court case against Gilani for failing to act on the apex court`s earlier orders to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland.

When the bench resumed hearing the case this morning, Ahsan`s assistant informed the court that the Prime Minister`s counsel was ill with food poisoning and could not attend the proceedings.

The apex court has been pushing the government to revive the cases against Zardari since December 2009, when it annulled the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The government has refused to act, saying the Constitution gives the President immunity in Pakistan and abroad.

Gilani has said he would prefer to be jailed in the contempt case than violate the Constitution by approaching Swiss authorities to revive the graft cases.

During today`s hearing, Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk remarked: "Had he (Ahsan) listened to us, he would not have been struck with food poisoning."

Ahsan`s assistant replied it was sheer coincidence that he was unwell and that he had never missed any hearing in his 40-year career.

He asked the bench to adjourn the hearing for a week.

The bench disregarded the plea and adjourned the case till tomorrow.

Gilani could be jailed for six months and disqualified if he is convicted for contempt.


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