Gilani appeals against his conviction

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Friday filed an appeal against his conviction by the seven-member Supreme Court bench in the contempt of court case which cost him his job.

Appealing that the court’s April 26, 2012 conviction order be set aside, Gilani maintained that while he was convicted of an official act, the order carried a ‘personal stigma’ since he was barred from contesting elections for the next five years.

“My stance of refusing to write a letter to Swiss authorities as directed by the SC was official. As prime minister, I took an oath to protect the Constitution, under which the president enjoyed immunity from prosecution,” Gilani stated in the intra-court appeal he filed in person.

The former premier said that his successor, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf took the same stance when the court issued the latter a contempt of court notice. He added that the court, however, was gracious enough to allow Ashraf to intimate the president’s constitutional immunity to the Swiss authorities.

In a bid to win the superior court judges’ hearts, Gilani recalled that his first official order after assuming the prime minister’s office was to release judges detained by former president Pervez Musharraf. He added that he was a vocal supporter of the judges’ restoration and had never intended to disrespect the judiciary or commit contempt willfully.