UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan PM refuses to accept court order

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 16, IRNA -- Pakistan Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, on Friday publicly refused to accept orders by the country’s Supreme Court to write letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The Supreme Court on March 8 ordered the Prime Minister to send letter to the Swiss authorities and do not take advice from any one and also submit a report to the apex court on March 21.

Gilani told public rallies in eastern Punjab province that he would not write to the Swiss authorities as such action would be a ‘deviation’ from the constitution which gives immunity to the President.

“If I write to the Swiss authorities, I would violate the constitution and the violation carries death penalty. But if I violate the court orders the punishment is only six-month jail term so I am ready to face imprisonment,” the defiant Pakistani Prime Minister told two rallies.

Gilani said he would also betray the ruling Pakistan People Party of President Zardari if he sends letter to the Swiss authorities. “I will not do it,” he declared.

Political analysts describe the Thursday’s speech of the Prime Minister as a direct clash with the highest judiciary.

The Supreme Court has already formally charged the prime minister for contempt of court and legal experts say that he could be jailed and de-seated.

The government has so far refused to write to Swiss authorities as the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party insists that the president enjoys immunity in and outside the country under the constitution.

President Zardari also said in a TV interview few months ago that writing a letter to Swiss authorities would amount to putting grave of his slain spouse and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on trial.

The country's anti-corruption bureau said that millions of dollars have been transferred to Swiss banks.

The opposition alleges that the money in Swiss banks belongs to President Zardari and Benazir Bhutto who was killed in a suicide attack and shooting in December 2007.

The apex court also said in its orders that the contempt hearing would continue against the prime minister as he is reluctant to obey the court's previous orders.

The judges also ordered the attorney general to keep the court informed about any progress on the orders.

Despite the Supreme Court's orders, there had been no indications by the prime minister's defense lawyer, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, to write to the Swiss authorities.

He also told the court on Wednesday that the Prime Minister will not write to the Swiss authorities.

The court observed that clear orders were issued to the prime minister as the first order was defied and Prime Minister Gilani, as the chief executive of the country, is wholly responsible for its implementation. The court ordered Prime Minister Gilani to submit an implementation report before March 21.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80042589

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list