In what appeared to be a unique example, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has found Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani guilty of contempt, asking him to stay till the rising of the court.
“The prime minister has been found guilty of contempt for willful flout of the direction of the Supreme Court. Reasons to be recorded later,” the court said.
A seven-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk convicted him of not accepting the court’s verdict and for ridiculing the court in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case.
The court dismissed and ultimately the punishment ended soon after few seconds.
The Prime Minister was charged with contempt by the apex court in February for refusing to write to the Swiss authorities to ask them to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Yusuf Raza Gilani was accompanied by his son Ali Musa Gilani, Abdul Qadir Gilani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and other members of the cabinet.
The prime minister has appeared twice before in court and has maintained his innocence throughout, saying he had done nothing against the rules of business. Aitzaz, meanwhile, had argued that the bench was not eligible to hear the case as it had taken the notice itself.
Even after he was formally charged with contempt of court on February 13, PM Gilani insisted that he would rather be jailed than approach the Swiss authorities to reopen the cases against the President.
The premier has said throughout the proceedings in the apex court that he had done nothing against the government’s rules of business.
Speaking on the premises of the Supreme Court, Minister for Law and Justice Farooq H Naek said that commenting on the contempt case will be fair once the verdict is out.
“Let us not speculate, we will discuss this after the verdict is out and fair comments will be made accordingly.”
He said that if the government had chosen some options, it was not right to discuss them right now as options would be based on the verdict.