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The hypothesis of ‘contempt of court’ against Gilani

February 03, 2012

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. - File Photo.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has said that it will indict Yousuf Raza Gilani on charges pertaining to contempt of court. The premier has been summoned to appear before the court on February 13, 2012.

According to former senator and Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court Syed Iqbal Haider the probability of February 13, 2012 “never coming” is extremely high and he believes that the appellate bench might suspend February 2, 2012’s decision.

He reminisced regarding the previous contempt of court hearings against the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, which took a strange turn when the court was invaded by Sharif’s party workers during the course of the hearing and the proceedings were suspended.

Later on, chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who summoned the former PM to appear before the court, was asked to step down on charges of misconduct.

Haider alleges that no such situation will develop in the current case.

He claims that the likelihood of this particular case meeting the same fate as the Supreme Court’s NRO decision of 2009 is extremely high.

“The government will drag the proceedings of this case as long as possible, by proposing that they will write the letter but will delay the correspondence  until the elections of the senate take place,” claimed Haider.

The second scenario, which Haider claims and proposes, entails the filing of a review petition in the case of possible indictment and conviction.

“If the prime minister is charge sheeted, it is not mandatory that he has to resign. He can file a petition for review which will be heard in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and will take time,” he added.

Moreover, Haider alleges that, “The speaker and leaders of the opposition party can file a petition in the election commission regarding the disqualification of the prime minister. Considering the judicial system of Pakistan it is obvious that the hearing and verdict will also take much time and will remain pending until the elections.”

The last possibility which Haider proposes might occur is that the president will remain unaffected even if Gilani steps down.

“Even if the prime minister is made a scapegoat and is asked to resign, the decision will not affect the president of Pakistan and he will remain in his position,” Haider added.

In short, it is wise to say that the letter which needs to be written to the Swiss authorities, to reopen the cases against President Asif Ali zardari, will remain pending. Moreover, the main cause for framing charges against the prime minister will not serve any purpose, signifying that the whole exercise will turn out to be quite futile.