ISLAMABAD, June 16: Leaders of the ruling coalition sat together on Saturday to review the political situation and discuss options to deal with any possible adverse decision from the Supreme Court, which is currently hearing various petitions challenging the National Assembly speaker’s ruling on the issue of the prime minister’s disqualification.
A handout issued by the presidency after the late-night meeting said the coalition partners had “reiterated resolve to uphold supremacy of parliament as envisaged in the Constitution”, indicating that the government was ready for a fight to the finish on the issue of the prime minister’s disqualification in the wake of his April 26 conviction by the apex court on charges of contempt for not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen a money laundering case against PPP co-chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari.
A source told Dawn that Law Minister Farooq Naek had been specially invited to the meeting presided over jointly by President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to brief the participants on possible outcomes of the hearing of the petitions.
The meeting was attended by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Haji Muhammad Adeel and Zahid Khan of Awami National Party, Babar Ghouri and Haider Abbas Rizvi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Senator Abbas Khan Afridi and Munir Khan Orakzai from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah and the president’s spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar were also present.
Briefing reporters about the meeting, the spokesman said it praised a resolution passed by the National Assembly endorsing the decision of the speaker against sending a reference to the Election Commission under Article 63(2) of the Constitution for the disqualification of the prime minister. It said the speaker represented the dignity of the house.
The meeting called for an expeditious and impartial inquiry into the case involving Malik Riaz and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar in accordance with the Supreme Court’s verdict.
The meeting rejected notions of any conspiracy involving the government in the case and termed such reports as baseless and unfounded.