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Three judges to abstain from PM conviction case proceedings

May 2, 2012 - Islamabad

Three out of the nine existing members of an appeal bench in Pakistan have excused themselves from Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's contempt of court case.

"Three of the nine existing members of the bench cannot hear the case due to some reasons. If an appeal is filed, then we will have six judges remaining," The Express Tribune quoted Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, as saying, as he addressed lawyers at the inauguration of a circuit bench of the Balochistan High Court (BHC) in Sibi.

He refused to disclose the name of the three judges.

According to the report, sources close to the case revealed that Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani excused himself from the premier's contempt case, claiming that he was related to Gilani while Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said he was suffering from cardiac disease. Justice Shakirullah Jan cited that he was working as Acting Chief Election Commissioner, and therefore, would be unable to sit on the appeal bench.

However, Justice Chaudhary outlined that an additional judge and two ad-hoc judges would be appointed to complete the quorum, who would hear that case if an appeal is filed. The chief justice has convened the judicial commission on May 7, and cited Articles 181 and 182 of the Constitution to support his argument.

On April 26, the Pakistan apex court found Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani guilty of contempt for not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to seek reopening of graft cases against the president.

Following the conviction, Gilani said that he will file an appeal against the apex court judgment as, according to him, a law for contempt of court did not exist in Pakistan.


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