Gilani in more trouble?

Gilani in more trouble?

With two days left for Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to appear in person before the Supreme Court to face contempt charges, hectic behind the door efforts were on to defuse the political crisis gripping the nation.

As the Prime Minister prepared for his appearance before the court, he faced the possibility of another case being filed against him for alleged misuse of authority.

Gilani told the National Assembly which gave its full backing to the political leadership that he would appear before the Supreme Court on Thursday to face the contempt charges. The court yesterday asked him to appear in person after he failed to implement its order to reopen graft charges against Zardari.

The beleaguered government faced yet another embarrassment today when the apex court suspended the licence of a lawyer close to President Zardari.

Zardari in a bid to defuse the political crisis in the wake of the government's stand-off with the powerful military following the memo scandal, held talks with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne last night.

The meeting is believed to be a follow-up of talks held between Zardari and Army Chief Gen Asfaq Parvez Kayani over the weekend, Dawn newspaper quoting a source reported.
A brief statement issued by the presidency said Zardari and Wynne discussed professional matters pertaining to the armed forces.

However, sources told the Dawn that the two leaders focussed on finding a way out of the ongoing impasse.

Though there was no certainty about how the civil-military talks were progressing, there were "hints that some progress is being made", the report said.

The official said the meeting between the army chief and the President was held "for lowering temperatures rather than raising it".

The Supreme Court temporarily suspended the lawyer's licence of Babar Awan, a former law minister and the President's close aide, who is acting as the government's lawyer in several high-profile cases for failing to respond to a contempt notice.

An 11-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry suspended Awan's licence when he appeared in court to represent the government in a case for reviewing the death sentence awarded to former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

The bench said the action was being taken as Awan had failed to respond to a contempt notice.

It further said Awan's behaviour towards the apex court had been "inappropriate".
Meanwhile, Pakistan's main anti-corruption watchdog is considering filing a case of alleged misuse of authority against Gilani under which he could face a prison term of 14 years if convicted.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is contemplating filing a case against Gilani in connection with the appointment of Adnan Khwaja as chairman of the state-run Oil and Gas Development Company even though Khwaja had already been convicted by court.

NAB Chairman Fasih Bokhari told the News daily that action will be taken in cases of alleged illegal appointments made on the orders of the premier under the law and rules.

Former Establishment Secretary Ismail Qureshi, who was recently arrested on graft charges and released on bail, has reportedly told NAB investigators that Gilani and his Principal Secretary Nargis Sethi were responsible for Khwaja's appointment.

NAB sources said Gilani had violated a section of the NAB law that carries a jail term of up to 14 years.

Gilani and Khwaja were detained in jail together during the previous regime of President Pervez Musharraf.

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