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The hypothesis of ‘contempt of court’ against Gilani

Published Feb 03, 2012 07:24am


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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.


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Comments (10) Closed

Hem Raj Jain Feb 03, 2012 04:33pm
There is one more possibility. Gilani may initiate impeachment proceedings in Parliament against 7 judges of Supreme court who are bent upon opening case against President despite constitutional immunity to incumbent President from such prosecution.
Saud Humayun Khokhar Feb 03, 2012 05:55pm
To purge himself, a letter could be written by the Prime Minister to reopen the Swiss case for completion of pretrial discovery but defer trial until the President Zardari is out of office, so without in the meantime unduly impeding the President’s power to govern, which is the only ground of his immunity which the Supreme Court may ultimately carve out of the presidential immunity defense when formally plead. But given the realities of modern politics and mass media, and the delicacy of the political relationships which surround the Presidency both foreign and domestic, there is a Russian roulette aspect to the course of this case since postponing trial and completing the pretrial discovery in the meantime would have any way given the President power to govern and survive and go through the Sentae election.
Abdul Khan Feb 03, 2012 06:12pm
Every judge in the Supreme Court knows that the letter, if written , will be held in limbo until Zardari is no longer president. This is because Swiss authorities have already declared that in the internationally a sitting head of state enjoys immunity. What the SC wants and the executive is avoiding is create a precedence in Pakistan where immunity to the head of state is diluted.
Abdul Khan Feb 03, 2012 07:15pm
I am not sure that Gilani can initiate impeachment process of judges. What the President can do is to file "references" against these judges which go to the Juducial Council which is normally composed of judges from Supreme Court.
Kdspirited Feb 03, 2012 07:54pm
In Pakistan there needs to be a precedent for accountability. It may not result in any immediate action but it will set an example that even the heads of state cannot roam freely and enjoy impunity without some consequence. Also Mr. Jain the courts are not bent upon prosecuting the president. The law says you cannot just claim immunity you have to come to the courts and ask for it. Only the courts can authorize immunity. And there has been no such action taken by either side
Syed Feb 03, 2012 09:59pm
The cases can be open by Swiss Authority if the immunity is waivaed off for the President by the Supreme Court. I may be wrong but this might the catch 22 :)
Nasah (USA) Feb 03, 2012 10:37pm
Seems there is bad blood saga between the PPP and the country's courts since the late 70's -- from ZAB's hanging in 1979 -- to the purported hangings on February 13 2012 -- that goes on and on without a peaceful live and let live end in sight.
Mirza Feb 04, 2012 01:30am
After this case meets the same fate as Memogate and still the PCO SC tries the elected PM for contempt, in the end President should give him presidential pardon.
Nasah (USA) Feb 04, 2012 11:00am
Once the precedence for the PM to appear before the judges like a "mulzim" has been established -- there lurks the danger it may turn into the court's newest habit. Besides the strange public declaration of the verdict by the judges prior to the next appearance of the PM in their court.
sana Feb 04, 2012 12:08pm
the said hypothesis moves round the one idea that the target of judiciary is just to toppling the mr. president of this government, infact, the worthy judges sitting there know well the repurcussions of their decision in fragile democratic state, more over, why one assume that the judges desire the military rule in the country, where as time and again supreme court categoraically stated that any move agaist the democracy is not tolerable, no doubt the president may or may not be affected, even PM may not get the burnt of the fire of decision against him but surely the other benificiaries of NRo must tatse the bed results of the decision!