Islamabad, Apr 25: Pakistan today waited with bated breath for the Supreme Court's ruling on a contempt case against embattled Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani that could see him jailed or thrown out of office, as he vowed to appear in person tomorrow to face the verdict.
“The court has summoned me for the third time and I have decided to appear in the court tomorrow. I am doing this because I respect the judiciary and courts,” Gilani said.
The government has always respected the judiciary and acted on its orders and will continue to do so, he said.
A seven-judge bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk had yesterday reserved its judgement in the contempt case initiated against Gilani for failing to act on the apex court's directives to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Gilani, 56, could face a six-month prison term and disqualification if he is convicted.
The premier said that he was satisfied with his counsel Aitzaz Ahsan's input in the proceedings of the case. Gilani also said that he was satisfied with Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir's input.
“We respect the court and we will go. We should not react; whoever wants to accompany me during the hearing is most welcome,” he said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the cabinet will accompany him to the Supreme Court when the verdict will be announced.
During yesterday's hearing, Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk asked Gilani's counsel to ensure that the premier is present in court when the verdict is announced tomorrow.
The Supreme Court has been pressuring the government to revive cases of alleged money laundering against Zardari in Switzerland since December 2009, when it struck down a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
Gilani has refused to act, saying the President enjoys immunity within Pakistan and abroad. Gilani appeared in the apex court twice before and decided to fight the case.
Even after he was formally charged with contempt of court on February 13, Gilani insisted that he would rather be jailed than approach the Swiss authorities to reopen the cases against the President.
The premier has said throughout the proceedings in the apex court that he had done nothing against the government's rules of business.