Pakistan Supreme Court holds Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani guilty of contempt of court
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was Thursday convicted for contempt of court by the Supreme Court that gave him a 30-second symbolic sentence for refusing to write to Swiss authorities to reopen a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Gilani was convicted of contempt of court and sentenced until the rising of the court, DawnNews reported.
The sentencing lasted for barely 30 seconds, a reprieve for the 56-year-old prime minister who could have been jailed for six months.
Guilty as charged: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (File photo)
The prime minister waved to his supporters as he walked out of the heavily guarded Supreme Court premises.
Gilani was convicted for violating Article 63(1) (g) of Pakistan's constitution by a seven-judge bench of the court, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk.
"For reasons to be recorded later, the prime minister is found guilty of contempt for wilfully flouting the direction of the Supreme Court," said Justice Nasirul Mulk.
The bench had Tuesday reserved its judgment in the contempt case against Gilani for failing to act on the court's directives to reopen corruption cases against Zardari.
He has argued 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 also 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.
Gilani was indicted for contempt of court Feb 13.