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PM's conviction: Gilani objects to NA speaker's proceedings

24 May, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani has objected to the National Assembly speaker's proceedings on a reference regarding his conviction in the contempt of court case.

The PM is likely to file an appeal on Friday.

Sources told on Wednesday that the PM's reply submitted to the speaker's office says, "It is premature to proceed on the reference," saying unless the final judgement on appeal was not passed the speaker should halt the matter.

Sources said that the PM had also objected to the veracity of the reference on the merit of case as he rejected his disqualification in view of the Supreme Court's judgement in the contempt of court case.

National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to submit a reply regarding his conviction by the apex court in contempt matter.

Earlier, Attorney General Irfan Qadir submitting his written opinion to the NA speaker on Tuesday opposed the premier's disqualification in view of the court's judgement in the contempt of court case.

Meanwhile, Barrister Gohar Ali, a close aide to Aitzaz Ahsan, said that the appeal would be filed on Friday, adding that the draft of the appeal was almost final in which around 150 questions have been raised. Sources said that the questions raised were against the short and the detailed judgements.

The PM was convicted under Article 204(2) of the constitution read with Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003. Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Munir A Malik said the date for filing the appeal against the order starts from the issuance of the short order, adding that the detailed judgement only provided reasons.

Lawyer Salman Akram Raja said that in case the speaker decided in favour of Gilani, her decision could be challenged in the apex court since there was no specific constitutional provision to deal with such an eventuality.

PPP lawyer Faisal Chaudhry said that the time of 30 days for the speaker starts after the appeal. He said that after the acceptance of the appeal the 30 days time for speaker would be halted and it would start from the judgment of the appeal and not the earlier judgement.

He further said that the punishment under the Contempt of Court would not enhance the integrity and authority of the court. But it would enhance with the judgments.

Separately, PM's counsel Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan met Gilani. Aitzaz discussed the contents of the appeal with the PM.

The PM was convicted in contempt of court case for not obeying the court's order to write a letter to Swiss authorities for reopening cases against President Asif Zardari, who is believed to have presidential immunity.

The short order for conviction of the prime minister was followed by a detailed judgement by a seven-member bench with government side believing that conviction was not in line with the charges framed when prime minister was indicted.

The NA speaker has consulted various legal minds in the last few days and she could announce her decision in next couple of days.


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