Pak SC to decide Gilani fate tomorrow

Islamabad: Pakistan today waited with bated breath for the Supreme Court`s ruling on a contempt case against embattled Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani that could see him jailed or thrown out of office, as he vowed to appear in person tomorrow to face the verdict.

"I will appear before the Supreme Court tomorrow," Gilani said addressing a meeting of his cabinet. The government has always respected the judiciary and acted on its orders and will continue to do so, he said.

A seven-judge bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk had on Tuesday reserved its judgement in the contempt case initiated against Gilani for failing to act on the apex court`s directives to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Gilani, 56, could face a six-month prison term and disqualification if he is convicted. During Tuesday`s hearing, Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk asked Gilani`s counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, to ensure that the premier is present in court when the verdict is announced on Thursday.

The Supreme Court has been pressuring the government to revive cases of alleged money laundering against Zardari in Switzerland since December 2009, when it struck down a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

Gilani has refused to act, saying the President enjoys immunity within Pakistan and abroad. Gilani appeared in the apex court twice before and decided to fight the case.

Even after he was formally charged with contempt of court on February 13, Gilani insisted that he would rather be jailed than approach the Swiss authorities to reopen the cases against the President. The premier has said throughout the proceedings in the apex court that he had done nothing against the government`s rules of business.