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Gilani won't appeal conviction: Aitzaz

27 May, 2012

LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will not appeal his conviction for contempt because the speaker of the National Assembly (NA) has not disqualified him, his lawyer, Aitzaz Ahsan, said on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference, Aitzaz said that the prime minister asked him last [Friday] night not to file an appeal. He said that Gilani had decided not to appeal after consultation with senior PPP leaders and President Asif Ali Zardari.

The lawyer said that he had already drafted an appeal containing 146 objections against the Supreme Court's (SC) judgement and was ready to file it in the court when Gilani told him not to do so following the speaker's ruling a day before.

Aitzaz said that Gilani was still the constitutional and legal head of the government. He said the prime minister was accused of contempt of court, and not ridiculing it, adding that he was convicted on charges that were never framed against him. On Thursday NA Speaker Fehmida Mirza said Gilani's conviction for contempt was not a charge that meant he should be disqualified under the constitution.

Aitzaz said that Fehmida Mirza's ruling of not sending the reference against Gilani to the Election Commission (EC) was the right decision because "in the constitution of 1962, a speaker had a role of post office only but the situation was changed in the 1973 constitution".

Replying to a question, Aitzaz said the PPP did not accept the SC's short order in the case and that the deadline for filing an appeal against the detailed judgement was June 7.

The lawyer also said that the prime minister would remain convicted in the contempt of court case until his conviction was not challenged. But Gilani could contest the next general elections, Aitzaz added.

"The prime minister has served his sentence, but he has not been disqualified," Aitzaz said.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Fawwad Chaudhry said that after the announcement of detailed judgement by the Supreme Court, the prime minister had the opportunity to file an until June 15.

"Moreover, there is no urgency in filing an appeal, particularly in the presence of the ruling of the speaker of the National Assembly, in which she did not find a reason for the disqualification of the prime minister," Fawwad said. "The rulings of the speaker of the National Assembly cannot be challenged at any forum under Article 69 of the constitution."

He said that under the law of limitations, the period for filing an appeal would be extended as the SC would be observing its summer vacations from June 15. staff report/agencies


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