Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani convicted by Supreme Court
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Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani convicted by Supreme Court

Islamabad : Pakistan | Apr 26, 2012 at 3:03 AM PDT
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True face of Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani

The prime minister of Pakistan, Yusuf Raza Gilani, has been found guilty by the Supreme Court in the contempt case.

History was made in Pakistan Thursday, when the serving prime minister of the country was convicted by Pakistan's Supreme Court. Yusuf Raza Gilani was on the verge of completing his term as the elected prime minister to become only the second Pakistani PM (after former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz {2004-2007}) to have done so since the country came into being in 1947. However, it now seems that cannot happen anymore, as the court has found Gilani guilty of charges involving contempt of court because he refused to adhere to a court's order.

According to reports, the prime minister has been found guilty of contempt of court because he refused to reopen corruption cases against Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari.

On Thursday, Gilani went to the court hearing surrounded by his supporters, who were showering him with rose petals. There was heavy deployment of police outside the court.

Even though Gilani has been found guilty of his crimes, only a symbolic sentence of a few minutes' detention in the courtroom was handed out to him. As soon as he heard the verdict, Gilani smiled and later did serve his sentence of a few minutes of courtroom detention.

The Supreme Court took action against Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani when he refused to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen a $60 million money laundering case against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The case against Zardari involves kickbacks that he and his late wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto received from Swiss companies when she was in power in the 1990s. The Swiss court went ahead with the trial and the pair were found guilty in absentia in 2003. The case was dropped by the Swiss authorities in 2008 after the government of Pakistan approved an ordinance that gave the president and other political figures immunity from old corruption cases. However, Pakistan's Supreme Court again ruled the ordinance unconstituional in 2009 and then ordered Gilani to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen the cases against Bhutto and Zardari.

This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that a serving prime minister has been convicted by the Supreme Court. Even though the sentencing to Gilani was very light and symbolic, it can still result in his dismissal from the office within the coming days.

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Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani waves after arriving to the Supreme Court in Islamabad
Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani waves after arriving to the Supreme Court in Islamabad
Samantha86 is based in New York City, New York, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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