World / Asia-Pacific

Pakistan PM to appeal against conviction

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-04-26 14:35

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who was found guilty in a contempt of court case on Thursday, will file a review appeal against his conviction, a cabinet minister said.


Pakistan PM to appeal against conviction

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani waves after arriving at the Supreme Court in Islamabad April 26, 2012. Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday found Prime Minister Gilani guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president, but gave him only a symbolic sentence of a few minutes' detention in the courtroom. [Photo/Agencies]

The Supreme Court found Gilani guilty in the contempt of court case for failing to act on its directives to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Gillani was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in March 2008 after his Pakistan Peoples Party won a considerable victory in the parliamentary elections.

A seven-judge bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk sentenced Prime Minister until the rising of the court. The Prime Minister was released after 30 seconds when the judges left the court's room.

Cabinet Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the Prime Minister will file review appeal against the apex court's order.

Legal experts say that the Prime Minister has the right to file review appeal but some of them argue that the Prime Minister must step down after conviction.

Gilani continues to act as Prime Minister despite conviction, state television reported.

The beleaguered Prime Minister also summoned an emergency meeting of the federal cabinet to review implications of the court' s verdict, Information Minister said.

Qamar uz Zaman Kaira said that a cabinet meeting will be held shortly to review the 'consequences of the court's verdict and chalk out future strategy'.

"We will also hold discussion about political implications and its impact and legal team will review the legal aspect," he said. He said the verdict is a matter of concern for the party and the people.

Official sources said that President Asif Ali Zardari has also conveyed a meeting of senior ruling party leaders and coalition partners to discuss the fast emerging political development after the court's verdict.

The Supreme Court said in its verdict that the court's orders were intentionally ignored and the court was insulted.

The Supreme Court had been asking the government to revive cases of alleged money laundering against President Zardari in Switzerland since December 2009, when it cancelled a graft amnesty issued by former President Pervez Musharraf (1999-2008).

Gilani had refused to accept the court's orders, saying the President enjoys immunity in Pakistan and abroad. Gilani had appeared in the apex court twice before and had decided to fight the case.

He was formally indicted with contempt of court on February 13, but he insisted that he would prefer to go to prison and face disqualification but will not approach the Swiss authorities to reopen the cases against the president.

The Prime Minister has always insisted during the proceedings that he had done nothing against the government's rules of business.

All corruption cases had been withdrawn after the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party of President Zardari signed a deal with Pervez Musharraf in 2007 after nearly a year of secret talks.  

Around 8,000 people, including President Zardari, his slain spouse and two times Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, other politicians and government officers benefited from the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

In 2009 the Supreme Court overturned the amnesty law which protected President Zardari and other politicians from being prosecuted for corruption.

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