Pakistan's prime minister Wednesday appealed against a Supreme Court summons to appear on February 13 to face indictment for contempt over refusing to pursue corruption cases against the president.
The shock move from Pakistan's top court on February 2 sharply escalated pressure on the embattled Yousuf Raza Gilani, threatening to plunge his government deeper into crisis a year before it completes its term in office.
Gilani's lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan said he based the appeal on precedents set by top courts in Australia, Britain, France, India and the United States.
"I have filed an appeal today. I have quoted more than 50 national and international cases and given specific reasons against the Supreme Court order," Ahsan told reporters.
A court official confirmed that the appeal had been received.
If convicted of contempt, the prime minister could be jailed for up to six months and disqualified from public office.
Ahsan called for an early hearing of the appeal.
"It depends on the court to stay the proceedings and decide against summoning the prime minister on February 13," he said.