ISLAMABAD: Positions on all sides remained unchanged after the release on Tuesday of the detailed Supreme Court judgment on the conviction of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the contempt case.
Talking to Dawn, PML-N spokesperson Senator Mushahidullah Khan said that after the court’s April 26 short order his party had taken the stand that Mr Gilani had no legal and moral grounds to stick to his office after the conviction and he should immediately resign.
The PML-N leadership, he said, had already launched a protest movement against the prime minister and would continue it till his ouster.
Legal advisers of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf were of the opinion that the prime minister had a right to appeal.
Talking to a private TV channel, PTI chief Imran Khan said that in principle his party didn’t accept Mr Gilani as prime minister after his conviction, but under the law he had the right to go for an appeal against the court’s decision. “If the SC rejects his (Mr Gilani) appeal and he refuses to leave the office, the PTI will have no other option but to go for a final push against the government,” he said. Senator Zahid Khan, spokesman for the government-allied ANP, said there was no ambiguity at all. After the SC verdict the ball was now in the court of the National Assembly Speaker and she would have to take a decision if Mr Gilani could continue to be the chief executive of the country.
The MQM and PML-Q, two other parties in the ruling coalition, offered similar comments, saying that the prime minister had the right to appeal and that the NA Speaker had the final authority to remove an MNA. Adviser to the prime minister on political affairs Fawad Chaudhry said there was a legal consensus after the detailed judgment that now the court was out of Mr Gilani’s disqualification process.
Answering a question about an appeal against the judgment, he said a legal team led by Senator Aitzaz Ahsan would take a decision on prime minister’s return from the UK on May 12.
Political observers are of the opinion that the confrontation between the opposition PML-N and the ruling PPP would further intensify in the days to come since the former has taken an extreme position. After the court decision the PML-N has refused accept Mr Gilani as lawful holder of the public office and wanted his immediate removal.
Legally speaking, there is no change in the status of the prime minister after the detailed judgment. The SC bench, in categorical words, has neither referred the case to the Speaker’s office to initiate proceedings for his disqualification nor has it said anything which could lead to his immediate removal from the office.