Pak PM appears before Supreme Court: Top PPP leaders arrive

Yousuf Raza Gilani
Islamabad, Jan 19: Top leaders of Pakistan's ruling coalition, including several federal ministers, gathered at the Supreme Court today amidst tight security ahead of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's appearance before a bench to respond to a contempt notice.

Among those who came to the apex court to extend support to Gilani were Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Asfandyar Wali Khan of the Awami National Party, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of the PML-Q and Punjab Governor Latif Khosa.

Gilani was on Monday issued a contempt of court notice for failing to act on the apex court's order to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and summoned to appear in person before a seven-judge bench. This is the third occasion that a Pakistani premier has been issued contempt notice by the apex court.

The other premiers who faced similar action by the court were Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Gilani has appointed Aitzaz Ahsan, one of Pakistan's top legal experts, as his lawyer.

Ahead of the court's proceedings beginning at 9.30 am, security agencies closed off the high-security Red Zone that is home to the Supreme Court and other buildings like the parliament and presidency. Hundreds of policemen and parliamentary personnel were deployed in the area to create a three-tier security ring. The road in front of the apex court was closed at midnight. Nearly 100 members of the Pakistani and foreign media were issued passes to cover the court proceedings.


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