Gilani-escorted-by-police-at-Supreme-Court
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (C) is escorted by security as he waves upon his arrival at the Supreme Court building in Islamabad.—AFP Photo

On April 26, 2012, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was found guilty of disobeying the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which led to his conviction for contempt of court.

Though the sentence only lasted for 30 seconds, however, what remains to be looked into is the aftermath of the sentence rather than its duration.

Senator (R) Iqbal Haider said, “The fact remains that the PM has been found guilty of contempt of court and was sentenced under Article 63 (1) (g) of the Constitution of Pakistan. His sentence, no matter how short it was, has serious repercussions. The prime minister has been labelled as a convict.”

“Gilani will certainly file an appeal and will remain in his position till the final appeal is dismissed. At the same time, it is very important to understand that the dismissed appeal can also be filed for further review, providing the government with more time to drag the case,” added Haider.

According to Haider, if the review is also dismissed by the court, the matter will then be taken to the National Assembly of Pakistan. The debate will be initiated to assess the verdict and the speaker of the assembly, on the basis of unanimous decision, can file a reference in the Election Commission of Pakistan.”

“The Election Commission of Pakistan, reviewing all the charges and verdicts against the PM, will issue a notification for de-seating him entirely, however, I must also say that this notification can also be challenged by Gilani,” he added.

It is extremely evident that the prime minister and the government will continue to file appeals and prolong the case and the main issue of reopening graft cases against the president and other important members of the government shall remain unaddressed.

According to Haider, the government of Pakistan is strategising to gain more and more time till the tenure of the PM itself lapses.

“The strategy is transparent. They will keep filing for reviews till the PM’s tenure expires and the entire proceedings become meaningless,” he added.

Haider also said, “It is sad that the government is not complying with judiciary’s orders, however, Attorney General of Pakistan, Irfan Qadir, was extremely provocative during the course of the proceedings, turning this whole debacle into a conflict between the judiciary and executive order of Pakistan.”

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