Timeline: From NRO to Memogate

Published January 16, 2012

A glimpse into the recent events of Pakistani politics.—Photo illustration by Nadir Siddiqui/Dawn.com

March 9, 2007: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is  suspended by President Musharraf as he refuses to oblige him by stepping down from his position. Chaudhary is accused of corruption, misdemeanour and stepping out of judicial parameters.

His suspension instigates a political and judicial turmoil over the country,  which is considered one of the factors in toppling Musharraf's government.

July 20, 2007: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary is reinstated in a ruling headed by Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday.

The ruling is given by a 13 member bench, which unanimously decided that the petitions filed by President Musharraf were unfounded and faulty.

October 6, 2007: Musharraf wins the presidential election but is challenged by the Supreme Court.

October 18, 2007: Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto returns from exile, procession to welcome Bhutto home is targeted by a suicide bomber resulting in the death of dozens.

November 3, 2007: President Musharraf declares a state of emergency and suspends the constitution and parliament simultaneously.

Musharraf also orders the house arrest of the Chief Justice and the judges responsible for his reinstatement.

December 15, 2007: President Musharraf lifts emergency rule, the constitution is restored.

December 27, 2007: Benazir Bhutto is killed while leaving a rally in Rawalpindi.

February 18, 2008: General elections are held in Pakistan in which Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League-N win a major chunk of the seats. Both the majority parties form a coalition government in which Yousuf Raza Gilani is elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

June 9, 2008: The long march is launched by lawyers, who seek the restoration of Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry as chief justice. The march concludes in Islamabad on June 14, demanding the ouster of President Musharraf.

August 8, 2008: Ruling coalition (PPP and PML-N) decides, for the third time, to reinstate Chaudhry.

August 18, 2008: President Musharraf resigns after PPP and PML-N launch impeachment proceedings against him.

August 28, 2008: PML-N leaves the coalition, as the government fails to reinstate the chief justice.

September 6, 2008: Asif Ali Zardari wins the presidential elections.

16 December 2009: The Supreme Court of Pakistan issues a petition to consider NRO 2007 to be null and void which provided immunity to the offenders of law, including money launderers and embezzlers. The ordinance of 2007 was drafted and approved by President Pervez Musharraf.

The court asks the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to reopen the cases against President Zardari entailing the Swiss scam; allegations which the premier out rightly denies.

October 10, 2011: Mansoor Ijaz writes an article in Financial Times where he reveals that he delivered a memorandum written by a Pakistani official posted in the US to Admiral Mike Mullen. The revelation creates a frenzy of activity in Pakistan bringing the role of then ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, into question.

The memo is speculated to have been written just after Osama bin Laden's killing in Pakistan and allegedly seeks help from the US to rein in the country's military and intelligence agencies.

November 22, 2011: Haqqani resigns from his position amidst chaos and allegations pertaining to him having drafted the controversial memo.

November 23, 2011: Chief of the main opposition party Nawaz Sharif files a petition in the Supreme Court to investigate the memo scandal, now dubbed as memogate.

Meanwhile, the army starts its own investigation into the events surrounding the subject.

December 22, 2011: Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani publicly announces that he and his party members will not accept 'a state within a state'; a remark which instigated a sense of disagreement between the civil and military command within the country.

However, General Kayani reiterates that the army does not aim to stage a coup and this is another tactic deployed by the government to digress from memo scandal.

December 30, 2011: The Supreme Court of Pakistan declares that the petitions filed by Nawaz Sharif and other political leaders to further investigate the memo scandal, are maintainable.

A commission is formed by the Supreme Court to probe into the controversial case involving the former Pakistan's ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani.

Later on, Haqqani's legal counsel, Asma Jahangir declares the decision to be a clear victory of military authority over civilian authority.

January 3, 2012: The Supreme Court of Pakistan issues a warning against the government to implement and execute the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) issued in the December of 2009, by writing to the Swiss government.

The reopening of cases will have repercussions for President Asif Ali Zardari who will then be defending various charges filed against him, including entailing money laundering and corruption.

January 11, 2012: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani terminates the secretary defence, Khalid Naeem Lodhi, on alleged misconduct and disciplinary actions.

The termination instigates Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, COAS, to call for an emergency meeting in Rawalpindi.

Prime minister previously claimed that the COAS and DG-ISI bypassed the defence and interior ministry whilst filing their respective responses in the Supreme Court of Pakistan with respect to memo scandal.

January 16, 2012: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is issued a contempt of court notice in the NRO implementation case, and is directed to appear before the apex court on January 19.

January 17, 2012: The prime minister chose Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan to represent him in the Supreme Court to contest the contempt notice.

On the other hand, the apex court suspended Babar Awan's licence to practice in the court and asked for a replacement of Awan with another lawyer to represent President Zardari in the Bhutto reference.

January 19, 2012: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appeared in front of the Supreme Court to defend the contempt of court charges filed against him.

During the initial part of the hearing, Gilani reiterated that the president enjoys immunity, according to Pakistani and international laws, which is why they did not correspond with the Swiss government.

In order to access the appropriate records and file a response, the legal counsel to Gilani, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, requested for a grace period of one month.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan adjourned the session by postponing the hearing until February 1, 2012. However, the court has now exempted Gilani from appearing in the next scheduled hearing.

January 23, 2012: Mansoor Ijaz's counsel Akram Shaikh announced that his client will not come to Pakistan to testify in the memogate controversy. This decision was taken unanimously amidst Shaikh's concerns regarding Ijaz's security in Pakistan.

Shaikh has requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan to record his client's testimony from Zurich or London.

Following Ijaz's refusal to come to Pakistan, Haqqani filed a new application which entailed a request to revoke Ijaz's right to testify in the case. The application further stated that Ijaz was given two chances to appear before the Supreme Court, however his failure to present himself should be ample to disqualify him from the proceedings of the case.

January 26, 2012: The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) summoned Ijaz to appear before the commission on February 10, 2012.

January 30, 2012: The Supreme Court of Pakistan granted judicial commission two more months to investigate the memogate issue, as the original tenure of the commission was scheduled to end today.

Moreover, the court has also eased the restrictions that bound Haqqani to stay in the country.

February 1, 2012: Supreme Court's hearing pertaining to the contempt of court case against the Prime Minister continued where Ahsan defended the PM by reiterating that though there is no harm in writing a letter to the Swiss authorities, however delay or refusal to correspond with them does not qualify as contempt of court.

Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk responded to the defense clearly by emphasising that the Constitution of Pakistan enables the court to penalise the people who fail to comply with the given orders.

The hearing has adjourned till February 2, 2012.

February 2, 2012: The Supreme Court of Pakistan announced its verdict to indict the Prime Minister for contempt of court.

The premier has been asked to appear before the Supreme Court on February 13, 2012. However, Gilani has decided to file an appeal before the appointed date.

February 8, 2012: Ahsan filed an intra-court appeal requesting the Supreme Court to suspend the decision of framing charges against Gilani.

February 9, 2012: Supreme Court of Pakistan adjourned the contempt of court hearing against Prime Minister Gilani and instructed Ahsan to complete his arguments by February 10, 2012. Chief Justice of Pakistan showed displeasure over certain points of the 200-page appeal and claimed that the language used in the document gave a negative impression of influencing the court of law.

February 9, 2012: Supreme Court of Pakistan adjourned the contempt of court hearing against Prime Minister Gilani and instructed Ahsan to complete his arguments by February 10, 2012. Chief Justice of Pakistan showed displeasure over certain points of the 200-page appeal and claimed that the language used in the document gave a negative impression of influencing the court of law.

February 10, 2012: An eight-member bench, led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, dismissed Prime Minister Gilani's appeal and has summoned him on February 13, 2012 in order to frame court of contempt charges against the premier.

If convicted, Gilani can face up to six months in jail and disqualification from office.

Moreover, the memo commission, established to probe into the controversial memo met in Islamabad High Court to assess if Ijaz's statements can be recorded from abroad.

The court allowed the memo commission to record Ijaz's statements via video link from London.

February 13, 2012: The supreme Court of Pakistan indicted Prime Minister Gilani for charges pertaining to contempt of court.

The Supreme court ordered the prosecutor, attorney general, to submit sufficient documents by February 16.

PM's counsel has been ordered to compile and submit evidence by February22 whereas Gilani's evidence will be recorded on February 27 and 28.

The hearing has been adjourned till February 22.

February 16, 2012: Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq submitted to the Supreme Court evidence relating to the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Gilani.

The documents comprised 469 pages in four volumes and will be formally displayed before a seven-judge bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk on Feb 22 in the absence of prime minister's counsel Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan.

February 19, 2012: The Secretary of Memo Commission, Jawad Hassan, left for London to record Mansoor Ijaz's statement via video link.

February 22, 2012: The hearing on contempt of court was further adjourned till February 28. The Supreme Court ordered Ahsan to submit complete evidence by the designated date.

Moreover, the main character of the memo scandal, Mansoor Ijaz, recorded his testimony from London High Commission through a video conference.

Ijaz submitted evidence to the secretary of the commission who sealed them for further investigation.

February 23, 2012: Ijaz continued to testify from London High Commission and admitted that he had prepared the first draft of the controversial memo himself without former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani's consent.

February 24, 2012: Ijaz's testimony continued for the third day during which he showed a portion of his phone bill to the commission.

Ijaz said that his telephone was registered on his company's name and that he cannot reveal the bill's entire content following which the commission directed its secretary Jawwad Abbas to contact and retrieve the copy of bill from the telephone company and courier it to them.

His testimony against the intelligence agencies was recorded and later on removed from the record by the commission.

February 27, 2012: A day before the formal contempt of court hearing, Gilani's counsel submitted a miscellaneous application requesting two top government officers and a former law minister to be summoned as court witnesses.

Ahsan requested the court to summon Cabinet and Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi, Law Secretary Masood Chishti and former law minister Babar Awan to record their statements as court witnesses.

February 28, 2012: Ahsan, referring to the various arguments on appeal, said that he wanted to present evidences and witnesses and that a chance should be granted to him to examine them.

Supreme Court adjourned the contempt of court hearing against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani till March 7.

March 1, 2012: Mansoor Ijaz claimed that he had helped former ambassador Husain Haqqani by delivering the purported secret memorandum to the then US military chief because he had information about the possibility of a military coup in Pakistan.

During the cross-examination Ijaz allegedly said he had been briefed by at least four intelligence networks of different countries after the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2.

He also claimed to have the transcripts of conversations between the President's House and the Army House on the operation.

March 2, 2012: The memo commission directed former ambassador to US, Husain Haqqani, to respond to the documentary evidences provided by Mansoor Ijaz against him within 10 days.

Simultaneously Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed that the US administration had blocked the validation of his BlackBerry set that he had used for chatting with former ambassador Husain Haqqani.

March 3, 2012: ISPR and the Presidency denied Ijaz's claims by iterating that there was no telephone conversation between President Asif Ali Zardari and the COAS Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on the night between 1 and 2 May 2011.

March 7, 2012: The contempt of court hearing continued in which Defence and Cabinet Secretary, Nargis Sethi testified as a witness before the supreme Court of Pakistan.

Sethi acknowledged that two summaries were sent to Prime Minister by the Ministry of Law.

Supreme Court adjourned the contempt of court hearing till March 8, 2012.

March 8, 2012: The Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered Gilani to submit the written reply till March 19 and adjourned the contempt of court hearing till March 21.

Moreover, the Supreme Court in a hearing pertaining to National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case, ordered Prime Minister Gilani to correspond with the Swiss authorities again.

March 12, 2012: Husain Haqqani requested memo commission not to appoint a forensic expert at government expense for verifying the data submitted by Mansoor Ijaz. Whilst responding to the accusations, Haqqani was of the view that Ijaz should fund the forensic investigation as it will be carried out on his personal request.

Moreover, he denied Ijaz's claim that he had been in contact with him through BlackBerry messenger during the events of May 9 to 12 last year and on the issue related to the controversial memorandum.

March 13, 2012: Before departing for London, Zahid Bukhari, counsel to Haqqani, said that memogate is a plot hatched to destabilise the government. He further added that the controversy was aimed to halt the Senate elections.

Bukhari further reiterated that there was no truth behind the memo and hence no conclusion could be withdrawn.

March 14, 2012: Ahsan, whilst addressing the media, said that the Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq, being the prosecutor of the case, was ordered by the court to write a letter to the Swiss authorities. He said that the orders were given to the prosecutor in his absence on March 8.

Ahsan further commented that he will present his arguments on not corresponding with the Swiss authorities in the court on March 19 and 21.

March 15, 2012: Prime Minister Gilani publicly announced his refusal to correspond with the Swiss authorities.

He further commented that writing the letter would be a violation to the Constitution which carries death sentence, whereas refusal to correspond might result in six months' imprisonment which is better than the former penalty.

On the same day, Zahid Bukhari, counsel to former US ambassador Husain Haqqani, interrogated Ijaz on various issues pertaining to the memo and the article he wrote in Financial Times.

During the interrogation, memo commission examined the transcript of a conversation, sent by Ijaz, between pilots of the helicopters used in the operation against Osama bin Laden and Pakistani air traffic controllers. The commission further observed that the transcripts were not authentic but only possessed account of information conveyed by one unidentified person to another.

Ijaz claimed that he was threatened by Rahman Malik which deterred him from travelling to Pakistan.

Later in the day, Bukhari was joined by his client who told the commission that he is unable to retrieve data from the telephone company and further stated that he does not remember the Pin code of his cell phones.

March 16, 2012: Zahid Bukhari, Counsel to Haqqani,  continued to interrogate Ijaz for the second consecutive day.

Ijaz alleged that President Asif Ali Zardari provided Haqqani with necessary directions during the memo fiasco.

Ijaz further alleged that he possesses details of the bank accounts owned by President Zardari and his assassinated wife Benazir Bhutto. Ijaz also claimed that Zardari has been involved in money laundering and that he has documentary evidence to support his claims.

He also claimed that Haqqani had dictated the memorandum in which he had covered all the important aspects, including elimination of political section of ISI, the political situation in Pakistan, conduct of the army, formulation of security council, inquiry into the May 2 incident, the episode of 1971 and the Afghanistan issue.

Bukhari later on announced his decision to quit as Haqqani's legal counsel due to unfavourable attitude of the commission's chairman. However, he reversed his decision when the chairman decided to continue with the case proceedings regardless of Bukhari and his client's absence.

March 18, 2012: The memo commission turned down Haqqani's request to record his testimony via video link.

Haqqani further commented that he remains the prime witness in the memo case which is why his testimony should be recorded on March 19 via video link without any delays. He also said that he wants an early end to the inquiry because the controversy has maligned his reputation, however the commission declined his request.

Moreover, Gilani, whilst addressing the journalists at his residence, said that he is ready to resign from the premiership if that will resolve the issue of writing a letter to Swiss authorities.

March 19, 2012: Aitzaz Ahsan said that Gilani's conviction will not necessarily result in disqualification as a sentence of less than two years cannot affect anyone's eligibility.

On the same day, Gilani submitted his written reply in the Supreme Court of Pakistan stating his official refusal to correspond with the Swiss authorities.

March 21, 2012: The hearing on contempt of court against PM Gilani continued in which Ahsan said that they never refused to correspond with the Swiss officials neither did they disagree with the court's orders. Ahsan also said that he still believes that corresponding with Swiss authorities will not serve the purpose as President Zardari enjoys immunity.

Furthermore, Justice Asif Khoja said that if the accused pleads guilty, then we can think about leaving the matter up to the people.

Ahsan was of the opinion that expecting a fair judgment from the seven-member bench after the six-option verdict was difficult.

The hearing was then adjourned till March 22.

Moreover, on the same day, Haqqani submitted his response to the memo commission denying the allegation levelled against him by Ijaz.

Haqqani confessed having a 16-minute telephonic conversation with Ijaz on May 9, 2011 in which they discussed Ijaz's anti-Pakistan stance in his writings.

Furthermore, the commission directed that the recording of Haqqani's testimony will commence on March 26, 2012.

March 22, 2012: The contempt of court hearing continued for the second consecutive day in which Ahsan said that according to the Article 10 A, fair trial remains a constitutional right of every Pakistani citizen. Ahsan also claimed that the current trial contradicts the aforementioned article.

Moreover, Ahsan challenged the eligibility of judges who issued a show cause notice to Gilani, however the court replied to his argument by stating that if Ahsan's stance on this issue is considered valid then every defendant will feel free to challenge the court.

The hearing was adjourned till March 26, 2012.

March 24, 2012: Haqqani requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan to allow him to record his testimony at Pakistani High Commission in London.

Haqqani cited security concerns as his reason for not testifying in Pakistan.

March 26, 2012: Pakistan's Former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani excused himself from appearing before the commission. Haqqani also decided to stay abroad till the court issued a verdict on his request to testify via video link.

Moreover, petitioner to the memo case, Barrister Mohammad Zafarullah Khan objected to Yasin Malik being made a party to the court proceedings claiming that Malik has no connection with the memo case.

However, Yasin Malik has been permitted to appear before the memo commission to clarify allegations made against him by Ijaz.

Malik aimed to disclose vital information, who said that he would give details of his relationship with Ijaz when he appears before the commission.

Moreover, the commission gave Haqqani a last opportunity and warned that it could attach his property and issue arrest warrant to ensure his attendance. The commission also specified that it could initiate contempt of court proceedings against him if he failed to comply with the court orders next time.

The commission further announced that the next hearing would be fixed after the Supreme Court extended the deadline.

On the same day, contempt of court hearing against PM Gilani was adjourned till March 27 as Ahsan was unable to appear before the Supreme Court.

March 27, 2012: The Supreme Court adjourned the contempt of court hearing till April 12.

The decision was taken after Ahsan said that he would not be able to provide evidence in the court due to his ill health.

March 28, 2012: Supreme Court of Pakistan decided and announced to hear Haqqani's petition on March 29.

Haqqani had earlier submitted the respective petition in court on March 21.

The application stated that the court should pass an order allowing the commission to record his statement through similar facilities extended to Mansoor Ijaz who was accommodated by the commission on the plea of physical security.

March 29, 2012: The commission reviewed the Haqqani's request, seeking to record his statement via video link and adjourned the hearing of the memo commission for six weeks.

The Attorney General of Pakistan confirmed the adjournment decision of the memo commission.

The commission also ordered Haqqani to abide by its decision of returning back to the country within four days, while accepting his plea to keep his letter to the Chief Justice confidential, until the next hearing.

On the same day, Supreme Court adjourned the hearing for National Reconciliation Order (NRO) implementation case till April 16.

According to the court, the final verdict for the case is expected to be announced on the same date.

Moreover, PM Gilani may face another contempt case as the court decided to issue an appropriate order on April 16 after expressing displeasure over the response the prime minister had submitted on March 21 in which he threw the ball back to the judiciary's court by requesting it to first settle the contempt matter and then raise the issue of implementation of the NRO verdict.

April 4, 2012: Haqqani filed a petition to the memo commission informing them of his unavailability in the upcoming hearing as the commission had summoned Haqqani on April 5 to record his testimony.

In his application, the former ambassador pleads that he is suffering from a heart disease and is currently undergoing an extensive medical check up at a hospital located in New York.

April 5, 2012: Former DG-ISI, Ahmed Shuja Pasha completed his testimony before the memo commission. he confirmed that he met Ijaz however he also said that the propositions and allegations made by Ijaz in his articles were baseless.

Pasha accepted that he had failed to get a written permission from the President and Prime Minister for his meeting with Ijaz but the Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani gave him verbal permission to meet Ijaz.

Moreover, Akram Sheikh, counsel for Mansoor Ijaz, asked Yaseen Malik, Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) several questions regarding his nationality and passport, which was objected by the commission.

April 6, 2012: The commission investigating the memo scandal directed the federal government to ensure the presence of former ambassador Husain Haqqani at its next proceedings in Islamabad on April 12.

Moreover, the commission asked Haqqani to send a consent letter to Research in Motion for waiving his privacy rights in 24 hours.

The commission also asked the director general of Foreign Office's Americas desk to provide details of the discretionary fund allocated to Haqqani between April and December 2011 after Ijaz's counsel alleged that the former ambassador had used the fund to cover up the memo controversy even after his resignation.

April 11, 2012: Haqqani officially asked the BlackBerry company to issue the records of his conversations with Ijaz relevant to the memo case.

Haqqani signed the No Objection Certificate (NOC) which stated that he will not have any objections on issuing the details regarding his BlackBerry conversations with Ijaz.

However, experts claim that, despite the consent of both parties, the BlackBerry company will not be able to retrieve the records now because the company only maintains records of the last three months.

April 12, 2012: The Supreme Court resumed hearing of the contempt of court hearing against Prime Minister Gilani.

Ahsan argued that under Article 10 A of the constitution of Pakistan, the sitting bench remains ineligible to hear the case.

He further stated that the clause on transparent proceedings emphasises on the fact that no person can be a judge in his own case. However, Justice Khosa said that all proceedings regarding contempt of court cases are only completed by the court.

The court has adjourned the hearing till April 13.

Moreover, on the same day, judicial commission hearing the memo case, gave last chance to Haqqani to appear before the court in the next hearing.

Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa expressed his concerns toward government's incompetency and warned Amsa Jehangir of disqualification if she continued to give controversial statements.

According to Isa, Haqqani's concerns over his life are a blow on government's face.

The commission adjourned its proceedings till April 26.

April 13, 2012: The Supreme Court resumed the hearing of the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Gilani.

The newly appointed Attorney General of Pakistan, Irfan Qadir, was also present in the court.

Qadir was permitted by the court to act as a prosecutor in the case and was provided with two days to start his arguments.

Whilst presenting his evidence, PM's counsel Ahsan informed the court that he was being harassed by a particular media group and was being accused of lying. Ahsan also asked the court to provide him with security.

April 16, 2012: The hearing against PM's contempt case continued and Ahsan, whilst defending his client, reiterated that under Article 10 A of the constitution, the present bench could not try the prime minister for contempt as that would be in conflict with the principles of a fair trial.

Moreover, Justice Khosa commented on Ahsan's argument by saying that the court was exercising its authority to conduct the trial.

Ahsan also requested the court to delay its decision on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case as he is of the view that his arguments would be of no use after a decision on the NRO is announced.

The verdict on NRO was expected today however NRO's hearing was adjourned till May 3 whilst the court directed authorities to bring former attorney general Malik Abdul Qayyum back to Pakistan.

The hearing pertaining to contempt of court was adjourned till April 17.

April 17, 2012: Prime Minister's counsel, Ahsan refused to complete his arguments in the contempt of court case against his client by April 19.

During the course of the hearing, Supreme Court directed Ahsan to complete the arguments by the aforementioned date.

Ahsan said he was appearing in court despite ill health and that he could not specify as to when he would complete the arguments.

The hearing was adjourned till April 18.

Moreover, the BlackBerry service provider informed Haqqani that it does not have the record of messages of the period during which he was allegedly in contact with Ijaz.

Advocate Zahid Hussain Bokhari, the counsel for Haqqani, told Dawn on Tuesday that RIM's Legal Director Fredric Nisbet had regretted in his written reply that the company did not have the required data because it was not its policy to retain it for more than three months.

April 18, 2012: Presenting his arguments regarding presidential immunity before the court, Ahsan reiterated that heads of state enjoyed immunity from prosecution in criminal and civil cases in courts across the globe.

Ahsan concluded his arguments with respect to Article 10 A and also emphasised on the point that parliament remains independent regarding the law and constitution.

The hearing was adjourned till April 19.

April 19, 2012: During the hearing of the contempt of court case against prime minister, Ahsan said the United Nations, in one of its reports, had granted immunity to heads of state from prosecution in a foreign country.

Ahsan also produced the report before the Supreme Court's seven-judge bench, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk, to support his argument on presidential immunity.

He further said that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had also stopped courts from trying heads of state in the past.

April 20, 2012: The hearing on contempt of court continued during which Ahsan said that the prime minister only followed procedure and implemented the summaries presented to him.

He added that if the summaries did not provide the premier with the right input, then he cannot be held responsible for committing contempt of court by not writing to Swiss authorities.

Ahsan moreover said that writing the letter would demean the office of the president.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked that not implementing court's judgments was akin to committing contempt of court.

April 24, 2012: During the course of the hearing hearing, newly-appointed Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir claimed that no law addressing contempt of court existed in Pakistan.

Qadir made the claim while presenting his arguments in the contempt of court case.

He further said that a contempt of court ordinance was promulgated in the country in July 2003 but that it had expired in December 2003.

The Attorney General moreover said that it was the prosecution's duty to ensure that no innocent was penalised.

The verdict on PM's contempt of court case will be announced on April 26.

Moreover, on the same date, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that the judicial commission probing the memo scandal could record Haqqani's testimony via video link from London.

Speaking to media representatives, Haqqani's counsel, Asma Jehangir, said that her client should be provided with facilities similar to the ones provided to Ijaz. She said a foreign national could not be given greater rights than a Pakistani national under Pakistani law.

Jehangir further said that the court had been provided with evidence of threats that her client had been getting.

April 26, 2012: Supreme Court of Pakistan found PM Gilani guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president, but gave him only a symbolic sentence of 30 seconds detention in the court room.

April 27, 2012: Prime Minister Gilani refused to step down after his contempt of court conviction, saying only the country's parliament could remove him from office.

“There is no law to remove an elected prime minister. Parliament is the supreme authority and only this parliament has the authority to remove me, " he said in a defiant appearance in the National Assembly a day after the Supreme Court verdict.

April 30, 2012: Prime Minister Gilani said he would not resign from his position, adding that the Supreme Court's conviction had no relation with the process of disqualification.

Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, he said there was no law under which the court could disqualify an elected representative of the people.

He further said that he had the right of appeal against the apex court's ruling.

May 1, 2012: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry said that three judges who were part of the bench that heard the contempt case against the prime minister would not be available if a review petition came up.

Chaudhry did not identify the three judges who would not be “available” nor did he specify the reason.

May 3, 2012: Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza said that she had not made up her mind regarding the Supreme Court's conviction of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

She said she would consider the subject once the detailed verdict on the contempt of court case comes out.

Moreover, the commission probing the memo scandal met at Islamabad High Court and parties involved in the case presented their concluding arguments.

Akram Shaikh, the counsel for Mansoor Ijaz, was expected to conclude his argument by the end of the day.

May 4, 2012: The judicial commission probing the memo scandal met in Islamabad.

During the proceedings at the Islamabad High Court (IHC), Zahid Bukhari, counsel for Haqqani, told the commission that Mansoor Ijaz had admitted to have written the memo.

Moreover, Bukhari said that Haqqani had resigned from the position of ambassador voluntarily. He further said that his client also wanted a transparent investigation into the issue.

May 8, 2012: The Supreme Court issued the detailed verdict in the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Gilani.

The verdict, comprising 77 pages, was authored by Justice Nasirul Mulk.

The verdict was quoted as saying that the PM did not comply with court's orders and deliberately disregarded the court. It also said that it is clear that the judiciary was ridiculed at the highest levels of the government.

May 10, 2012: The Supreme Court awarded another four-week extension to the judicial commission probing the memo case for finalising its proceedings and preparation of the report.

May 11, 2012: Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, submitted a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Gilani.

The petitioner contended that a convicted person cannot hold the prime minister's office.

He further added that neither Speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza nor the Election Commission of Pakistan has any role in this regard.

May 15, 2012: The memo investigation commission has summoned Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani along with the relevant record on May 18 when it will examine forensic reports of BlackBerry Messages related to the memorandum allegedly sent to a former US military chief.

The commission also put on notice all the parties to the case, including Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt-Gen (retd) Ahmed Shuja Pasha, former ambassador Husain Haqqani, Mansoor Ijaz, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif and other petitioners and respondents.

An official of the Islamabad High Court said that the commission would examine the forensic report of the BlackBerry sets of Ijaz who claimed having drafted and delivered the memorandum to former US military chief Mike Mullen at the behest of Haqqani.

Meanwhile, Haqqani’s counsel Zahid Hussain Bokhari said that his client had withdrawn the attorney and decided to boycott proceedings of the commission.

He claimed that further proceedings after conclusion of arguments would be illegal because the commission had decided to draw inference on the basis of the available record.

May 18, 2012: A session of the commission probing the memo scandal was concluded at the Islamabad High Court.

After the session, the BHC chief justice said that the commission had completed its proceedings and only one in-camera hearing remained to be held.

Moreover, the commission is expected to soon present its report to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The commission’s secretary Raja Jawad presented his statement, recorded under oath, along with a forensic report of  Ijaz’s Blackberry set.

May 24, 2012: National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza decided not to forward the disqualification reference against Prime Minsiter Gilani to the Election Commission of Pakistan after his conviction by the Supreme Court in the contempt of court case.

May 25, 2012: Prime Minister Gilani and his close legal and political advisers, discussed the pros and cons of challenging the Supreme Court’s decision convicting the prime minister in the contempt case, decided late in the night not to file the appeal.

According to reliable sources, the advisers were of the opinion that the advantage gained from the favourable ruling of the National Assembly Speaker should not be put to risk by going to the Supreme Court with the appeal because the court may decide to remove what has been described as ‘lacunas and ambiguity’ in the shorter order and detailed judgment in the contempt case.

May 28, 2012: The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) filed a petition in the Supreme Court against a ruling by the NA Speaker refusing to disqualify the prime minister.

The petition challenged NA Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza’s decision not to disqualify PM Gilani as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, a month after the Supreme Court convicted Gilani of contempt.

May 29, 2012: Prime Minister Gilani said that both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Chief Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan were not members of parliament which was why they could not understand the significance of speaker's ruling.

Speaking to media representatives in Islamabad, the premier categorically stated that National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza’s ruling pertaining to the disqualification reference was final and could not be challenged.

June 4, 2012: A probe commission comprising the chief justices of three high courts has signed its report on the memo scandal that had triggered a confrontation between the civilian leadership and military commanders.

June 6, 2012: The Supreme Court admitted the petitions filed against Speaker Fehmida Mirza’s ruling on the disqualification reference against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for hearing, DawnNews reported.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry heard the petitions.

The petitions were filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khwaja Asif and Senator Zafar Ali Khan.

June 11, 2012: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary constituted a nine-member larger bench to hear the controversial ‘memo’ case.

June 12, 2012: A nine-member larger bench of the apex court heard constitutional petitions about the controversial memo delivered to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen reportedly by then ambassador to US Husain Haqqani.

The memo commission’s report submitted in the Supreme Court stated that Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, was not loyal to the country and that the memo seeking US support was indeed real and authored by Haqqani.

Haqqani, via his Twitter feeds, said that his lawyers will challenge the proceedings of the commission.

June 14, 2012: The hearing against National Assembly’s Speaker, Fehmida Mirza, ruling case continued in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, on June 14.

Advocate, A K Dogar, whilst presenting his arguments, said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, was disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, however he is still running a public office.

Dogar further said that PM Gilani deliberately insulted the court and the speaker’s ruling was against the seven-member bench’s verdict.

June 15, 2012: The Supreme Court resumed the hearing on petitions challenging the ruling of the National Assembly’s Speaker on the issue of disqualification of the Prime Minister.

During the hearing, the prime minister’s counsel Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan requested the court to constitute a larger bench to hear the petitions.

The bench said that by not appealing against the conviction, the prime minister had accepted it.

Responding to which, Ahsan said that the prime minister had accepted the conviction but not disqualification.

June 18, 2012: Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for Prime Minister Gilani concluded his arguments in the Speaker ruling case.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Iftikhar remarked that the court could review the speaker’s ruling.

Defending the ruling, Ahsan said the speaker’s ruling was in accordance with parliamentary ethics and reiterated that the ruling in the contempt of court case did not refer to a disqualification of the premier.

Morever, a written reply from Speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza had been submitted in the apex court by Attorney General Irfan Qadir.

June 19, 2012: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled Speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza’s ruling as void and declared that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani stood disqualified since April 26. Following Gilani's disqualification, President Asif Ali Zardari disregarded the option of early general elections and said that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will announce the name of the new prime minister after National Assembly’s session on June 22.

June 27, 2012: The Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the Attorney General to consult Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and inform the court regarding his decision on NRO implementation case.

The judicial bench has asked the prime minister to submit his reply on the issue of corresponding with the Swiss authorities.

June 29, 2012: Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani and US businessman Mansoor Ijaz, along with other involved parties, were issued legal notices.

July 12, 2012: A nine-judge bench, headed by Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, resumed the hearing on the controversy after the Memo Commission held that Pakistan’s former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani was the architect of the memo.

The court inquired Haqqani’s counsel Asma Jahangir as to why her client had not appeared for the hearing.

Asma said the court’s directives had been delivered to Haqqani, adding that her client’s life was in “grave danger”.

Moreover, The Supreme Court resumed the hearing in the NRO implementation case.

During the hearing, Attorney General Irfan Qadir told the bench that the court’s order had been delivered to the prime minister and federal law ministry.

The cabinet has requested the law ministry to give its recommendations on the matter, the attorney general said, adding that the recommendations would be presented before it.

July 17, 2012: Husain Haqqani submitted an application for exemption from appearing before the court in the memo case.

Haqqani filed the application through his counsel Asma Jahangir who based the request on her client’s letter.

July 24, 2012: The federal government submitted its reply in the Supreme court stating that the prime minister could not write the letter to authorities in Switzerland to reopen cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

However, the reply, submitted by Attorney General Irfan Qadir, was subsequently returned with objections.

The reply moreover requested the court to review its ruling of July 12.

July 25, 2012: The hearing on NRO implementation case continued.

Attorney General Irfan Qadir began his arguments on the issue of writing a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Qadir said that laws should be enforced and that the Supreme Court should not monitor cases in the NAB, adding that no officer of the NAB was bound to report to the apex court.

August 8, 2012: The Supreme Court issued a show-cause notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over his failure to implement its directive of writing a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Moreover, the government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court requested it to review its order of July 12 in the NRO implementation case.

The appeal requested the court to review its order in which the prime minister had been directed to submit an implementation report with respect to writing the letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

August 15, 2012: The Supreme Court heard the government’s review petition challenging its July 12 order asking the prime minister to write to Swiss authorities for reopening graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Justice Usmani remarked that the Constitution demanded that the prime minister obey the court’s orders.

The attorney general said that it was not a matter of anyone’s ego and that implementation on Article 248-(1) was necessary for the rule of law and for supremacy of the constitution.

August 16, 2012: The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of a government petition seeking review of the court’s July 12 order which directed the prime minister to comply with its judgment in the NRO implementation case.

During the hearing, Attorney General Irfan Qadir told the bench that he had held meetings with the prime minister and with the federal law minister, adding that, the government wanted the matter to be resolved “once and for all”.

Qadir requested to court to grant the government more time in order to carry out consultations on the matter.

August 27, 2012: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf appeared before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Prime Minister Ashraf requested the court to give him four to six weeks’ time to write the letter to Swiss authorities.

Justice Khosa gave three days to the prime minister to resolve the matter saying the matter could be resolved in three days and that the prime minister should act on the court’s directive in that time period.

Text by Faiza Mirza



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