Pakistan Observer

Gilani refuses Swiss letter writing

Contempt case hearing

Submits reply to SC seeking immunity reference to parliament or to people, Never committed or intended court contempt, Presenting President to foreign magistrate violation of Constitution

Tanvir Siddiuqi

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - IslamabadóPrime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday submitted his reply to the Supreme Court in the contempt of court case, formally informing the SC that he would not write the letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The prime ministerís lawyer Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsanís associate Barrister Gauhar submitted the reply, consisting of 24 pages, to the apex court.

The PM claimed in his reply that he completely trusts the SC, but expressed reservations on the bench.

Gilani stated that he was wrongly convicted by courts for eight to ten years earlier too, but that he was as innocent then as he is today.

The prime minister claimed that his decision not to write to the Swiss authorities was in good faith, and that the constitution does not allow him to write the letter. The reply further argues that presenting the president before a foreign magistrate would be in violation of the Constitution.

Earlier on Monday , Aitzaz had said that it was not necessary that courtís verdict against Gilani would result in the premierís disqualification.

Aitzaz said that Supreme Court should not take any decision on March 21 without hearing him.

Moreover, he also said that a sentence of less than two years could not disqualify the prime minister. Aitzaz added that following the constitution of Pakistan does not indicate that they are at odds with the judiciary.

He said that certain elements were trying to create a rift between the government and judiciary however they would not be allowed to succeed.

It may be recalled that on the last date of hearing, a seven-member bench, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk had told Aitzaz that he could submit a written reply on behalf of his client or apprise the Registrar Office if the accused contemnor wanted to appear in person.

The bench made it clear that in any case, the hearing would be resumed on March 21.

During the previous proceedings, Nargis Sethi, Secretary, Cabinet Division and the Ministry of Defence, had appeared and recorded her statement in support of the defence counsel.

Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq also questioned Nargis Sethi.

The PM was indicted for contempt of court after his failure to address a letter to the Swiss authorities requesting them to re-open closed graft cases against his party head and President Asif Ali Zardari.

The court had issued a number of repeated directions to the federation to implement its order on annulled NRO, especially para 178 of the detailed judgment, dealing with the Swiss cases.

During one of his recent addresses, PM Gilani had clearly indicated his intention when he stated that by writing the letter he could be charged with treason under the Constitution and he would prefer to go to jail for contempt which was only for six months.

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