Contempt of court notice to Gilani challenged

Lahore: The contempt of court notice issued to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani by the Supreme Court was challenged in a Pakistani court today. Lawyer Zafarullah Khan of the Watan Party challenged the contempt notice by filing a civil miscellaneous application at the Lahore registry of the Supreme Court.

Khan`s application was linked to his pending petition on the issue of the constitutional immunity of President Asif Ali Zardari. Khan stated that the contempt notice could not be issued to the premier as he too enjoyed immunity from litigation under Article 248 (1) of the Constitution. He said writing a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against the President, as ordered by the apex court, was not the responsibility of the Prime Minister.

He said the court should have summoned the Law Secretary and Law Minister before summoning the Prime Minister. He asked the court to take up his pending petition about constitutional immunity before January 19 and to discharge the notice issued to the Prime Minister.

The Supreme Court yesterday issued a notice for contempt of court to Gilani for not writing a letter to Swiss authorities for reopening corruption cases against Zardari and summoned him to appear in person on January 19. A senior leader of the ruling Pakistan People`s Party told PTI that no matter what happened, the government would not write the letter to the Swiss authorities as the President enjoyed immunity from prosecution under the Constitution.