Pak PM given token sentence in contempt case
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani convicted by the Supreme Court for contempt over his refusal to revive graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and was given a symbolic sentence that lasted 30 seconds threatening his continuance in office.
“For reasons to be recorded later, the prime minister is found guilty of contempt for willfully flouting the direction of the Supreme Court,” Justice Nasirul Mulk, who headed the seven-judge bench said as he sentenced Gilani “till the rising of the court”, sparing him a jail term.
The court also made a reference to Article 63(1g) of the Constitution, which lists the grounds for disqualifications of a convicted parliamentarian, but did not invoke it.
“We note that our findings and the conviction for the contempt of court recorded are likely to entail some serious consequences in terms of Article 63(1g) of the Constitution,” the bench said in a short order.
Experts said this left the door open for the initiation of the process for the disqualification of 56-year-old Gilani, Pakistan’s longest serving Prime Minister.
However, the Speaker of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament will have 30 days to decide on such a move and the Election Commission a further 90 days, effectively meaning that the premier can remain in office for four more months.
Emerging from the heavily guarded court, Gilani told the media: “We had sought justice. The decision was not appropriate”.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir described the verdict as “unconstitutional and unlawful”.
The premier remained standing for 30 seconds after the announcement of the judgement.
Opposition leaders, including PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, called on Gilani to resign following his conviction.