Pakistani PM Files Appeal in Contempt Case

Posted February 8th, 2012 at 5:55 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has filed an appeal against a Supreme Court summons calling for him to appear in court to face charges of contempt.

The contempt proceedings against Mr. Gilani stem from an earlier Supreme Court ruling that ordered the prime minister to reopen old corruption cases against thousands of people, including President Asif Ali Zardari.

Last week, the Supreme Court ordered Mr. Gilani to appear before it on February 13 to face charges. The prime minister's lawyer, Aitzaz Ahsan, says he filed an appeal Wednesday.

If convicted, Prime Minister Gilani could lose his job and go to jail.

Corruption charges against President Zardari and other Pakistani officials date back to the 1990s and were pardoned under a controversial decree in 2007. But the Pakistani Supreme Court threw out the amnesty, commonly referred to as the National Reconciliation Ordinance, in 2009 and ordered the government to reopen the cases.

Prime Minister Gilani has refused to implement the decision, saying the country's constitution does not allow him to initiate any legal proceedings against Mr. Zardari as long as he is president of the country.