Pakistan prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will appeal against a contempt conviction for defying a Supreme Court order to re-open corruption cases against the president, his lawyer Chaudhry Aitezaz Ahsan told the media, hours after a judgment on Thursday.
The appeal gives a lifeline to the PM as his government struggles to remain afloat during the political crisis the country is now witnessing.
The SC convicted Gilani of contempt of court for refusing to implement its order of writing letters to the Swiss authorities for reopening graft cases against President Zardari and also for ridiculing the court in his statements and actions.Gilani had faced a maximum sentence of six months in prison, but the court ordered him to be "imprisoned" until the was hearing adjourned. However, fears that the PM will be forced to resign or will be unseated were put to rest for the time being when law minister Farooq Naik told parliament on Thursday evening that the PM would continue to hold office while the appear was heard.
PM's counsel Ahsan told a news conference that the appeal to the SC judgment would be filed shortly. Explaining the three types of contempt offences, namely civil, criminal and judicial, Aitzaz told the media that his client was framed for one charge but was punished for the other two. "The charge was of disregarding the court, but the PM was sentenced for scandalising the court." Meanwhile, allies rallied behind the PM and the President.