LHC moved to restrain Gilani from framing budget

Lahore: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani should be restrained from using his powers to frame the federal budget for 2012-13 in the wake of his conviction for contempt, demands a petition filed in the Lahore High Court.

Justice Umar Bandial of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday admitted the petition for regular hearing and observed that a larger bench should hear the matter since the points raised by the petitioner are of grave importance.

Bandial forwarded the matter to Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed with a request for constituting a larger bench for proceedings on the petition.

Saeed today declined to hear the petition and observed that a bench would be formed to take up the case.

The Supreme Court had given Gilani a symbolic sentence of less than a minute after convicting him for contempt for refusing to act on orders to reopen graft cases in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Gilani has refused to resign and said only the Speaker of the National Assembly can decide the issue of his disqualification.

Earlier, A K Dogar, the counsel for Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed, made his initial arguments on behalf of the petitioner and claimed that Gilani had ceased to be the Premier after his conviction on April 26.

He claimed Gilani should be asked to explain how he and his Cabinet were still holding office.

Dogar argued that on April 26, Gilani left the Supreme Court premises as a common citizen as he had been convicted and there was no need for any further procedures for his disqualification.

Justice Bandial pointed out that the Prime Minister had the right to file an appeal against his conviction.

But Dogar replied that since Gilani had made it clear that neither he nor his successors will approach Swiss authorities to revive the cases against Zardari, therefore there was no likelihood of securing any relief from the apex court in the appeal.

Dogar further said that all expenses that Gilani incurred after his conviction should be recovered from his personal account as he had "ceased" to be the Premier.