Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered on Tuesday that all perks and privileges of the NAB prosecutor general be withdrawn and made it clear that the government would abide by the SC verdict about his removal. -File Photo
ISLAMABAD The government appears to be doing its best to strengthen a perception about a division in its ranks, with the president and the prime minister taking seemingly divergent stands on the status of National Accountability Bureau Prosecutor General Irfan Qadir.

While the prime minister's office appears to have fallen in line with the Supreme Court's orders to remove Mr Qadir, the presidency has not reacted to statements made by the prosecutor general, except a few remarks made in media interviews by spokesman Farhatullah Babar.

However, in a bid to avoid a government-judiciary confrontation and minimise the effects of Mr Qadir's statement that he cannot be removed on the orders of the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered on Tuesday that all perks and privileges of the NAB prosecutor general be withdrawn and made it clear that the government would abide by the SC verdict about his removal.

According to an official handout, the prime minister took notice of Mr Qadir's stance that he would continue to work unless he received his removal orders from the president and directed the law secretary to implement the SC verdict and withdraw all privileges of the head of NAB's legal team.

On the other hand, Mr Qadir told Dawn that according to the NAB Ordinance, the prime minister could not remove him from his office. He insisted that his removal required a notification from the presidency.

“President Asif Ali Zardari was my appointing authority and only he (president) can remove me,” he said.

Law Minister Babar Awan told reporters that the government would implement the SC orders. “The government has nothing to do with the decision of an individual,” he added.

Farhatullah Babar tried to put cover on the reluctance shown by the presidency in issuing the required notification. He said “The president himself cannot issue any such notification because a summary to this effect is moved from the law ministry and it reaches the president via the prime minister for signing.”

Mr Babar claimed that the presidency had not received any such summary.

When it was pointed out that in the case of pardon granted to Interior Minister Rehman Malik by the president a notification had been issued within two hours, but it had been delayed in the case of Irfan Qadir, the spokesman said Mr Malik's case was of a different nature. He would have been arrested had the pardon not been granted.

When asked why was the SC decision not being implemented even after a lapse of six days, Mr Babar said “If we go by the law, the process of removal of Mr Qadir will take some time. Let the legal course of action be completed.” A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had removed NAB's acting chairman Javed Zia Kazi and prosecutor general Irfan Qadir on a petition by Advocate Khwaja Harris who is representing the Bank of Punjab in a loan scam case.


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