Right or wrong PM Gilani would be making a history!
Right or wrong PM Gilani would be making a history!
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani is again going to make it a political show at Supreme Court of Pakistan when he would land in the courtroom along with his cabinet members and leaders from the coalition partners, to face the verdict against him in the contempt of court case. Right or wrong Prime Minister Gilani would be making a history on Thursday as first Prime Minister of the country to face verdict in Contempt of Court case against him as earlier the two prime ministers of the country—Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif—were just served with notices by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in contempt of court cases but the cases could not proceed further on settlement of the issues. The whole trial of the Contempt of Court case against Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani was fought more in media instead of the courtroom as throughout the trial the ruling PPP leaders including Prime Minister Gilani continued with public comments in the trial. The Prime Minister Gilani was served with show-cause notice, for his non-compliance with the court orders in NRO Implementation Case by not writing letter to Swiss authorities for reopening of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, on Jan. 16, 2012 and now the verdict would be handed down on Thursday (today).
In all some 18 hearings in the case took place while Prime Minister Gilani appeared before the court twice and now he would be appearing before the apex court on Thursday at the time of handing down of the verdict. Ruling Pakistan People’s Party was busy exerting extraordinary political pressure on the apex court but political and legal experts saw all these tactics a futile exercise as quite vibrant civil society, political parties in opposition and public at large were standing behind the judiciary and would not let anyone browbeat the superior judiciary.
Though PM Yusuf Raza Gilani had several times said that in case of conviction, he would neither claim clemency from the President nor would stay in the office of Prime Minister. “The moment I am convicted by the court I would seize to remain the member of the Parliament what to speak of holding the office of the Prime Minister,” said in an interview with a foreign TV channel. But there was strong possibility that Prime Minister Gilani would not bow out calmly and would drag the apex court in the legal complexities and Gilani would stay in office of the Prime Minister even after his conviction by the court till the time the procedure of his de-seating as member of the Parliament would be completed, as hinted at by his counsel Ch. Aitzaz Ahsan while talking to media after the court proceedings on Tuesday. Under the law the Supreme Court of Pakistan conviction verdict would be sent to Speaker National Assembly who would prepare a reference and forward it to the Election Commission of Pakistan and then after completing the tedious procedure the Chief Election Commissioner would finally de-seat the Prime Minister as Member Parliament and subsequently he would lose the slot of Prime Minister. Some insiders in the PPP informed that the party leadership was prepared not to let it an easy affair and would fight back tooth and nail but the doves in the Prime Minister’s camp were of the opinion that instead of locking horns with apex court the Prime Minister should step down immediately in case court would pronounce him guilty of contempt of the court with the aim to swing the public opinion in favour of the PPP and by portraying him as another political martyr.
As the hawks and doves in the party were sticking to their point of view the final decision in this connection would be taken by the party’s top leadership and most likely the President Asif Ali Zardari, who is Co-Chairman of the party would land back in the Federal Capital today (Wednesday) to draw future course of action. Sources in the party further informed that PPP had prepared alternate plans and in case of conviction of the Prime Minister the party would bring another party loyalist to fill the vacancy of the slot for which a number of names were already under review.
Sources in the party said that the next candidate would likely be brought from Punjab and the most likely choice would be Makhdoom Shahbuddin while some circles were also giving the name of President Zardari’s sister Faryal Taplur to fill the slot. Political and legal experts commenting on the situation said that the apex court may grant one last chance to Prime Minister Gilani on Thursday to write letter to Swiss authorities to avoid contempt of court and as decided by the party leadership the answer of the Prime Minister would be ‘no’ which would ultimately lead to his conviction in the case and may be handing down of token imprisonment which could be till the rising of the court. Under the law a person could be handed down up to six month of incarceration in contempt of court but most likely the court would award token imprisonment to Prime Minister, which would also lead to his disqualification as MP.
The legal brains of PPP informed that Prime Minister Gilani would avail his right of appeal in case the verdict came against him and the appeal documents are ready for filing by his counsel Barrister Ch. Aitzaz Ahsan.
By: Syed Abid Gillani Islamabad journalist and analyst
Posted on April 26, 2012, in Current Affairs and tagged Army chief, Chief justice, Contempt, contempt. Prime Minister., governance, judiciary, NRO, opposition, Pakistan, Supreme Court, Zardari. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.