Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, today appeared before the country's Supreme Court in Islamabad, where he faces charges of contempt of court, Agence France Presse reported.
Read more on GlobalPost: Pakistan's civilian government heads to court
The case concerns Gilani's failure to ask Switzerland to re-open corruption cases concerning President Asif Ali Zardari, and other officials, as requested by Pakistan’s judiciary.
In a statement to the seven judges, Gilani said he had appeared out of respect for the court, but insisted that Zardari, as head of state, had immunity from prosecution, the BBC reported.
Gilani, who declined to apologize, told the court:
"It is my conviction that he has complete immunity inside and outside the country. In the constitution, there is complete immunity for the president … It will not give a good message to proceed against a president who is elected by a two-thirds majority.”
Gilani, 59, said his government was bound to act according to the constitution and the law, which prevented his government from seeking to have the graft cases re-opened.
More on GlobalPost: Pakistan Supreme Court rules PM, Yousuf Raza Gilani, in contempt over corruption cases
The case was adjourned till February 1, when one judge, Sarmad Osmani, told Gilani he must convince the court that “the issue is of the president's immunity,” Reuters reported.
If found guilty of contempt, Gilani, the second premier in office to appear before a court in contempt proceedings, could be disqualified from office.