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Gilani contempt verdict to be announced April 26

Pakistan,Indo-Pak/Pakistan,Politics, Tue, 24 Apr 2012 IANS

Islamabad, April 24 (IANS) The Pakistan Supreme Court will announce April 26 the verdict in the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for not writing to the Swiss authorities to reopen a graft case against President Asif Ali Zardari.


A seven-member special bench led by Justice Nasir-ul Mulk will announce the verdict, Geo News reported.


"The court will announce judgment in the case on Thursday, April 26," Gilani's counsel Aitzaz Ahsan was quoted as saying.


During the proceedings, Attorney General Irfan Qadir contended that neither there was any evidence against the prime minister nor writing a letter could reopen the Swiss cases.


Asked if Gilani would appear in person, Ahsan said: "I will inform him about it today and he will Inshallah come to the court."


He said the maximum punishment Gilani could face if convicted was six months in prison.


The other judges in the bench are Justice Asif Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmani, Justice Ajaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ajaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmad and Justice Athar Syed.


Gilani has refused to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen a corruption case against Zardari, arguing that the president enjoys immunity under the Pakistani constitution.


Accused of graft, Zardari had been granted amnesty under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in 2007 by then president Pervez Musharraf to facilitate his return home and, primarily that of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.


The NRO that granted immunity to politicians and bureaucrats in corruption cases was struck down as void in 2009.


The apex court warned the government of action if its ruling on the NRO was not implemented by Jan 10, 2012. It further ordered the government to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen cases against Zardari.


On Jan 16, the court issued Gilani a contempt notice for not acting against Zardari.


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