Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani received no relief from the Supreme Court after the first day of hearing his intra-court appeal against appearing before the court on February 13 to be charged for contempt of court.
Finding portions of the voluminous appeal objectionable, the eight-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry wanted some references removed from the petition filed by the Prime Minister's counsel Aitzaz Ahsan.
On contempt charge
As for the appeal against the contempt order, the court maintained that the summons would be dropped if the government wrote a letter to the Swiss authorities asking them to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Contempt proceedings were launched against the Premier in January for repeatedly ignoring the Court's direction to write to the Swiss authorities after striking down the National Reconciliation Ordinance — promulgated by the former President, Pervez Musharraf — as per which all cases against the President and over 2,000 other politicians, bureaucrats and army officials were dropped.
Since the Prime Minister is scheduled to appear before the Court on Monday to be charged with contempt, the bench is expected to decide on the contempt petition on Friday. Mr. Ahsan has been asked to wind up his arguments by Friday morning with the Court pointing out that it had shown utmost patience in the case and given the government ample time to write to the Swiss authorities.
The government's contention has been that Mr. Zardari enjoys presidential immunity not just within the country but also overseas as do most heads of state.