Write letter to Swiss authorities or face the music of contempt. By: Syed Abid Gillani
Write letter to Swiss authorities or face the music of contempt.
This time the Supreme Court of Pakistan has given vivid and clear direction to Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani to write letter to Swiss authorities for opening of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari without seeking advice from any quarter and furnish the compliance report with the seven-member bench of the apex court on March 21. The direction of seven-member bench of apex court headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk, while hearing the NRO Implementation case on March 8 brought to an end all controversies shrouding the writing of letter to Swiss authorities by Prime Minister to an end and some of the constitutional and legal experts said that the court order has in a way revoked the Presidential Immunity he (President) was enjoying under Article 248 of the constitution. At the same time the court has also pushed the Prime Minister in dead alley, bounding him to write the letter to Swiss authorities for opening of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari or face the music in the contempt of court case.
Some knowledgeable people in the ruling Pakistan People’s Party said that the hawks who earlier were not ready to even listen anything about writing of letter to Swiss authorities and dubbed writing of letter tantamount to putting the grave of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto on trial, are now settled down to review the whole situation in given circumstances. Now the legal and constitutional wizards of the party would be meeting shortly to chalk-out the future strategy on the issue keeping in mind the pros and corns of writing letter or locking horns with the superior judiciary, which is hell bent to force the rulers to write letter otherwise it could go to any extend to establish its writ.
Credible people close to the top echelon in the PPP said that now the people who did not want to listen about writing of letter to Swiss authorities have started discussing the plus and negatives of compliance with the Supreme Court of Pakistan orders and most likely the party leadership would decide to submit to the apex court dictates by writing letter to Swiss authorities instead of locking horns, which would have disastrous consequences. On the other hand the superior judiciary after showing unprecedented judicial restraint reached at a point where their very credibility and hard earned independence would be at stake and they could do anything but to compromise it. Even at this critical juncture when the people have started raising fingers at the credibility of the judiciary the apex court had shown laxity by giving one final chance to the Prime Minister to comply with the court orders and if this time too the government has refused to bow down to the court’s dictate then it would be suicidal for the Prime Minister Gilani as well as for his government as rulers are mistaken if they are thinking that they would use some setback to their government in the clash with judiciary to win over public sympathy.
On the other hand the major political forces in opposition including Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf, Jamaat-I-Islami and a very strong civil society are standing behind the superior judiciary and would not let anyone even to browbeat it what to speak of intimidating or coercing this new found independent judiciary. On top of it the superior judiciary has quite wisely molded the public opinion in its favour while on the other hand the ruling PPP due to its failure to deliver mainly due to corruption scandals and mal-governance had lost sympathy in the eyes of public at large long ago and there are remote chances that in some sort of deadlock between the government and apex judiciary people would side with them.
The judges of superior court are fully cognizant of the circumstances but even then they had shown great restraint and granted full chance to the government to clear the filth they had created in shape of bringing National Reconciliation Ordinance right from initiation of the controversy when the apex court had revived all the ordinances of Musharraf era and sent it back to the Federal and provincial legislative assemblies to decide about their fate. But everybody knew it well that even the allies of the ruling PPP which had taken benefit of this notorious ordinance had refused to extend support for its passage from the Parliament and eventually the matter once again bounded back to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Ironically, the Pakistan People’s Party which had initially refused to even become party to the case on NRO, under which most of their party leaders including Co-Chairman of the party President Asif Ali Zardari had taken relief. But, later when the matter of writing a letter to Swiss authorities came for reopening of graft cases against President Zardari had arisen the PPP legal wizards jumped into the fray and not only become party to the case but also refused to write letter to Swiss authorities. The defiance of court orders lead to the issuance of the contempt of court notice to the Prime Minister and the contempt proceedings are pending with the court following the indictment of Prime Minister in the case.
Legal and constitutional experts are of the opinion that finally the apex court has pushed the government in the arena of their choice where the rulers would have to bow in submission to the supremacy of law and no trick or gimmick would work to shroud rulers treachery in the emotions of innocent masses the trick the rulers had blatantly used in the past.