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PPP braces for two momentous days next week

Published Jul 20, 2012 02:58am


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PPP leader and Yousuf Raza Gilani’s lawyer in the contempt of court case Aitzaz Ahsan leaves the Supreme Court building along with Qamar Zaman Kaira (top R) and Nayyar Bukhari (L) in Islamabad, Feb 2, 2012. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD, July 19: With the Supreme Court scheduled to take up a number of petitions challenging the Contempt of Court Act of 2012 on July 23 and the NRO implementation case on July 25, PPP leaders are busy contemplating their response to the two cases.

Sources close to some senior PPP leaders said a debate was going on in the party over whether to adopt a hard line or follow its policy of going by the book and let the judiciary keep on issuing anti-PPP judgments.

In the recent past the party has held more than one sitting to discuss its future course of action. The latest one was held on Tuesday at the presidency, co-chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

The PPP sources said that while the party hawks wanted a direct confrontation with the judiciary and protests against any future court judgment against the PPP and its leaders both in and outside parliament. But the likes of Senator Raza Rabbani are cautioning the party against any confrontation with the judiciary.

The sources said President Zardari was yet to give his opinion on the issue.

But, according to them, the dominant mood in the party was aggressive and some leaders were not happy that the ouster of Yousuf Raza Gilani was accepted without putting up a fight.

“When everyone of us sitting in the party believes that the courts are not impartial when it comes to the cases involving the PPP and its leaders, there is nothing wrong in protesting against court decisions on the streets,” said a PPP leader.

The Tuesday meeting was informed that there was every possibility the SC would strike down some provisions of the Contempt of Court Act which provided immunity to the president and the prime minister against contempt charges and the right to appeal for a convict or one accused of contempt.

Senior Lawyer Salman Akram Raja told Dawn that if the court chose to strike down some provisions or the whole law the government would have to accept the decision. However, if the court only interpreted it the PPP could take it back to parliament and get its own interpretation passed by amending the law.

He said the PPP government actually wanted to drag its feet on the NRO implementation case “and I believe the government after passing the new law will manage to do so.”

Barrister Zafarullh Khan said if the government and the judiciary had a difference of opinion on interpretation of a law, parliament could go for its amendment to explain the way it wanted. However, he said, under the Constitution it was only the SC which had the right to interpret a law.

According to a senior PPP office-bearer, by passing the new law on contempt of court, the government had sent its message loud and clear that it did not want the apex court to touch the president and prime minister on contempt charges. Now, he said, the ball was in the SC court and let the judges decide on the law.

The PPP sources said that in the first place the party believed this time the court would not send the new prime minister packing and give him time. Otherwise, he said, “this time party’s response will be different”.

Talking to reporters, Attorney General Irfan Qadir said the contempt of court cases could not add to the respect and dignity of the judiciary.

He argued that whenever judges would issue wrong decisions they would be ridiculed because the judiciary was not above the law.

He said the court decisions should be acceptable to both parties.

He said the SC should refer the matter to parliament with its interpretation and parliament would accept its positive recommendations.

He warned that there would be a crisis in the country if the court annulled the Contempt of Court Act.

Mr Qadir said there should be harmony among institutions for smooth functioning of the system.

The PPP sources said the government intended to invoke the new law in its response to the SC on the NRO implementation case.


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Comments (23) Closed

Fiz Jul 20, 2012 04:50pm
and who would decide that court is doing it to suite their taste. Any decision against govt then fall in that bucket, becasue govt would see that as biased. Doesn't make any sense.
Siddiqi Jul 21, 2012 10:59am
When do both sides find the court decision acceptable? They have to accept it as the supreme court is the final court of the law of the land. The purpose of hearing a case is to decide between right and wrong. How could both be right? Arbitration is a different matter when both parties are prepared to find common grounds by give and take to the benefit of both. I am afraid supreme court is a place where points of law are discussed and decisions taken on merit. It should not be a place to hackle.To say that PPP has a right to protest if the decisions went against their wishes is absolutely criminal and tantamount to blackmailing. We know from the word go that the intentions behind the contempt of court law are mala-fide. Hence there is no place for this jiyala gardi and the powers that be, should forcefully teach these guys to respect the law.
Malik Bulbul Khan Jul 20, 2012 02:05pm
No body should be above the law. Big leaders and all Office holders, everyone should be treated the same. The new law is not fair. It is there to protect the big, the powerful ugly and devil people. It should be struck down. All should be hold accountable according to the law. irrespective of thier status, or post. This is the only way and main highway that will put our country on the right path for peace and sucees.
Iftikhar Husain Jul 20, 2012 11:32am
It will be interesting to what comes out of this situation. This governmebt has been under pressure since it came to power and the people are suffering. The government is fighting for its pride and some parties are helping to achieve it.
logic Europe Jul 20, 2012 11:56am
the reason supremem court have the power to interpret the constitution because people who made the constitution would not be there for ever. Idea was that a non political entity will make the best possible decision ifnthre was a dispute about the meaning and scope of the law This power was not given to let the judges do what ever they like and make interpretations to suit their taste ,temperaments and other personal preferences when a judge is seen or perceived to be abusing this power .he should no longer be allowed to continue in office til his conduct has been scrutinised bye a competent court
salah Jul 20, 2012 11:56am
courts should not only be impartial but seen to be impartial which unfortunately is not the case present apex court of pakistan,it seems to be acting like a political party than a court.
W.Sarmad Khan Jul 20, 2012 09:34am
This is a discriminatory law. Every one is equal before the law. You can not exempt President, PM and elected officials for ridiculing the Judiciary while an ordinary citizen is punished for the same.. That is why this law will be struck down. Mr. AG's statement " there would be a crisis in the country if the court annulled the Contempt of Court Act." means that people of Pakistan should allow corrupt leaders and their allies to continue to plunder the wealth of the country and court should stay silent. It is a mean spirited statement and contradict the fundamentals of law guaranteeing equal rights to all citizen under the law.
sajan Jul 20, 2012 11:57am
Do you mean you agree with the AGs statement that , " ..the court decisions should be acceptable to both parties.."? I wonder what sort of decisions those will be.
@dodgy_helmet Jul 20, 2012 06:31am
This Contempt of Court Act is penned down to protect a select few individuals. The public will welcome a move which annulls this act. The crisis will only be in the ranks of the PPP, which is now a dying party.
Abdul Waheed Jul 20, 2012 07:04am
The views of Attorney General are positive, commendable and practicable. We expect that sanity will prevail on the issue to avoid further confrontation, instability in the coutry.
AAK Jul 20, 2012 10:26am
We are after wrong man. Court should try Musharraf for issuing NRO
Hamid Khan Jul 20, 2012 08:14am
This law must be struck down
M. Asghar Jul 20, 2012 08:15am
In terms of the legality of things, only the Apex Court has the constitutional seponsability to to interpret the texts passed by the parliament, particularly, if itseems to pass texts to cover the turpirudes of its members.
naseem butt Jul 20, 2012 08:19am
The court is the final inerpretor of the law and its decision must be accepted by all. In Islam ,same law applies to all.If present government brings out its workers to protest against judiciary , it will be suisidal ,for they will encounter severe reaction from the common man who will take the side of judiciary and bring this government to its knees..All these polititions are culprits.
Haider Wain Jul 20, 2012 09:14am
Parliament is supreme...and supreme court judges are governmnet servants...they can't dictate will of the people (Parliament)
J.Niaz Jul 20, 2012 07:48pm
OK, the Court should try Musharraf. But this does not mean that the law itself, the NRO, should not be questioned.
Khurram Jamal Jul 20, 2012 07:59pm
CJ and all other SC judges are too political and one can see traces of politics and political ambitions in their observations and decisions....This is very dangerous for the state and all its organs. One reason of this imbroglio is that people have developed political expectations from courts whereas they are only to provide judgements according to law. I live in Britain and do not even know the name of the CJ of Britain because they only provide verdits judiciously.
ram Jul 20, 2012 08:00pm
Not like political party.... Dictation! We only are knowledgeable
nabidad Jul 20, 2012 09:56pm
It is now right time for the people of Pakistan to come out on streets against biased judiciary.
Guest Jul 20, 2012 10:11pm
Corruption is in both sides, Govt and opposition , than why SC is only after PPP leadership, Why not take any action against opposition parties too. I agree everyone should be treated equally.
asim Jul 21, 2012 12:13am
Every citizen of Pakistan must be equal before law.This is the spirit of constitution of Pakistan and Islam.We have clear examples where a common man ask a Khalifa for his undue share . This law negates that spirit and provide protection to corruption of public office holders and must be struck down. Our parliament has just proved to be a rubber stamp for approving the corruption. Shame on them!
Siraj Khan Jul 21, 2012 05:40am
The task isn't too difficult. The Court only has to separate the useful from the useless and the liars from the lawyers.
S.A.K.Rahmani Jul 21, 2012 08:17am
Who the aggrieved party in this case? Is it the apex Court?