Pakistan's Supreme Court on Friday directed Yousaf Raza Gilani's top lawyer to complete his arguments in contempt proceedings against the Prime Minister by April 18, setting the stage for a verdict to be delivered in the crucial case.
A seven-judge bench headed by justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, which is hearing the case, said the court would hear the Attorney General's arguments after Gilani's lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan completes his arguments.
The bench subsequently adjourned the hearing of the contempt case till Saturday.
The apex court initiated the contempt case against Gilani after he refused to act on orders to reopen cases of alleged money laundering against President Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland.
The government has said the cases cannot be revived as the President enjoys immunity in Pakistan and abroad.
The apex court has been pushing the government to reopen the cases against Zardari since December 2009, when it annulled the National Reconciliation Ordinance, a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
Gilani has said he would prefer to be jailed in the contempt case than violate the Constitution by approaching Swiss authorities to revive the graft cases.
During Friday's proceedings, the premier's lawyer said he could not promise that he would be able to complete his arguments by the date set by the apex court.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Ahsan said he had highlighted Article 10(a) of the Constitution, which says every citizen has a right to fair trial.